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.
When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.
The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.
Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.
It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.
Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.
The Rays beat the Orioles last night, but the play of the game belonged to an Oriole defender.
Evan Longoria was batting and he chopped a ball foul down the third base line. At least it started out foul. As we all know, however, it doesn’t matter where the ball starts, it matters where it is when it crosses the bag.
Manny Machado knows this and didn’t give up on the ball despite it starting several feet in foul territory. He watched it come back, stayed with it and threw out Longoria who, unlike Machado, did give up on it, assuming he’d merely get a strike and another hack. Watch:
Longoria would get Machado back, however, fielding a ball Machado smoked to third base in the ninth inning, recording the second to last out of the game.