Here are the lineups for Game 5 of the NLCS between the Giants and Cardinals, in St. Louis:
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
1. Angel Pagan, CF 1. Jon Jay, CF
2. Marco Scutaro, 2B 2. Carlos Beltran, RF
3. Pablo Sandoval, 3B 3. Matt Holliday, LF
4. Buster Posey, C 4. Allen Craig, 1B
5. Hunter Pence, RF 5. Yadier Molina, C
6. Brandon Belt, 1B 6. David Freese, 3B
7. Gregor Blanco, LF 7. Daniel Descalso, 2B
8. Brandon Crawford 8. Pete Kozma, SS
9. Barry Zito, SP 9. Lance Lynn, SP
Bruce Bochy is back to using his standard lineup, which means Hector Sanchez moves to the bench after catching Tim Lincecum in Game 4. Buster Posey is back behind the plate, Brandon Belt is starting at first base, and Hunter Pence is hitting fifth after a one-game demotion to the sixth spot. Oh, and Barry Zito is on the mound with the Giants’ season on the line.
Mike Matheny held off posting his lineup until the last minute because Carlos Beltran was getting treatment on his strained left knee after sitting out Game 4 last night. Beltran got acupuncture and apparently felt good, or at least good enough, because he’s back in the lineup and Matt Carpenter is back on the bench.
The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.
Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.
Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.
As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.
Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.
Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.