Here are the lineups for Game 1 of the NLDS between the Nats and Cards, scheduled for 3:00 p.m. ET:
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS WASHINGTON NATIONALS
1. Jon Jay, CF 1. Jayson Werth, RF
2. Carlos Beltran, RF 2. Bryce Harper, CF
3. Matt Holliday, LF 3. Ryan Zimmerman, 3B
4. Allen Craig, 1B 4. Adam LaRoche, 1B
5. Yadier Molina, C 5. Michael Morse, LF
6. David Freese, 3B 6. Ian Desmond, SS
7. Daniel Descalso, 2B 7. Danny Espinosa, 2B
8. Pete Kozma, SS 8. Kurt Suzuki, C
9. Adam Wainwright, RHP 9. Gio Gonzalez, LHP
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny will ride with what became his everyday lineup over the final month of the regular season against Gonzalez, a National League Cy Young Award candidate. It’s a lethal batting order through the first six spots then tails off at Descalso. Kozma posted a shiny .952 OPS in 82 plate appearances after joining the Cardinals on August 31 to replace the injured Rafael Furcal, but he was a .232/.292/.355 hitter in 500 plate appearances before that at Triple-A Memphis. The hotness probably won’t last.
The Nats will also keep things simple, going with their usual starting nine in this NLDS opener in St. Louis. Wainwright boasts a 2.74 career ERA at Busch Stadium, so it could be a tough afternoon for both offenses.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.