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.
It’s already been established that the Blue Jays would throw deadline acquisition David Price in Game 1 of their ALDS matchup against the Rangers and fast-rising right-hander Marcus Stroman in Game 2.
Now we know how they’ll fill out the rest of their rotation for the best-of-five round …
John Lott of the National Post notes that R.A. Dickey threw a simulated game on Tuesday afternoon at Rogers Centre, which lines him up for a potential ALDS Game 4 next Monday in Texas. Marco Estrada will take Game 3 on Sunday night in Arlington.
Mark Buehrle retired after his final regular-season start, so he’s obviously out of the mix.
Toronto is the World Series favorite to many as the postseason gets underway.
Yasiel Puig appeared in just 79 games during the regular season and missed all of September with a right hamstring strain. He returned on October 3 and appeared in the Dodgers’ final two regular-season games, but that doesn’t mean he is anywhere close to 100 percent heading into the NLDS.
Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles says the Dodgers are unlikely to start Puig over Andre Ethier or Carl Crawford against right-handers in the best-of-five Division Series. And the Mets are scheduled to throw three righties in the first three games: Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Matt Harvey. The only left-hander in the Mets’ postseason rotation is Steven Matz, and he is somewhat questionable with a back injury.
Would it make sense to leave Puig off the NLDS roster entirely? If he does aggravate the hamstring injury, which seems possible even in a limited role, that would put him out of the mix for the NLCS.
They could send Puig to Arizona and have him face live pitching for the next 8-10 days.
But that’s just a suggestion. It doesn’t sound like it’s actually a consideration.