Matt Holliday scratched with back stiffness

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Originally slated to start in left field and bat third in Game 6, Matt Holliday was scratched from Sunday’s starting lineup about an hour and a half before first pitch. Back stiffness is the cause.

Holliday has been struggling in the postseason, particularly of late. He’s 4-for-21 with no extra-base hits and no walks against the Giants. His lone October homer came in the wild card game against the Braves two weeks ago.

In Holliday’s place, the Cardinals will go with Matt Carpenter at first base and shift Allen Craig to left field. Carpenter is 3-for-11 in the postseason. He homered in Game 3 after replacing an injured Carlos Beltran in right field.

Mike Napoli and Rays have “mutual interest” in a deal

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.

Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.

Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.