Here are the lineups for tonight’s American League Wild Card Game between the Rays and Indians, in Cleveland:
LF David DeJesus
RF Wil Myers
1B James Loney
3B Evan Longoria
2B Ben Zobrist
CF Desmond Jennings
DH Delmon Young
SS Yunel Escobar
C Jose Molina
SP Alex Cobb
Wil Myers only batted second 11 times all season, but did so in five of the last seven games. Desmond Jennings slides down in the lineup, with midseason pickup David DeJesus leading off. And manager Joe Maddon is going with Delmon Young at designated hitter versus Indians right-hander Danny Salazar, which is odd. For his career Young has a measly .709 OPS off righties, compared to .812 off lefties. Salazar showing a reserve platoon split as a rookie no doubt played a big part in Young getting the DH nod over Matt Joyce, Kelly Johnson, or Luke Scott (who isn’t even on the roster).
CF Michael Bourn
1B Nick Swisher
2B Jason Kipnis
DH Carlos Santana
LF Michael Brantley
RF Ryan Raburn
SS Asdrubal Cabrera
C Yan Gomes
3B Lonnie Chisenhall
SP Danny Salazar
Michael Bourn is back in the Indians’ lineup after leaving the regular season final with a calf injury. Terry Francona went with Yan Gomes at catcher and Carlos Santana at designated hitter most of the time down the stretch and he’s sticking with that tonight, which means no Jason Giambi. Lonnie Chisenhall gets the nod at third base over Mike Aviles and Ryan Raburn starts over Drew Stubbs in the outfield. In all the Indians have seven left-handed hitters in the lineup versus Rays right-hander Alex Cobb.
The Cubs wrapped up a four-game series against the Reds at Wrigley Field on Thursday afternoon, suffering a 13-10 loss to split the set. They’ll match up again against the Reds next week for a three-game series in Cincinnati. That’s good news for Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, because that means he’ll get to see Reds first baseman Joey Votto some more.
As CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports, Bryant has grown quite fond of Votto. Bryant has already won a World Series ring, a Rookie of the Year Award, and an MVP Award, but he still looks up to Votto. According to Bryant, Votto is “the best player ever.” He added, ““He’s my favorite player. I love watching him. I love talking to him, just picking his brain. He gets a lot of (heat) about his walks and working at-bats and some people want him to swing at more pitches. But, gosh, I mean, he does an unbelievable job. You know that he’s going to give you a great at-bat every time he goes up there. It’s definitely a guy that I look up to and I can learn from.”
Bryant said that Votto is “a future Hall of Famer, that’s for sure.”
Bryant also explained how his approach changed by watching Votto. He said that in his rookie season, he was “swinging at everything.” Votto, however, is “aggressive, but he’s not going to swing at a pitch until he wants it.”
Indeed, in Bryant’s rookie season, he struck out in nearly 31 percent of his 650 plate appearances. This season, he has struck out in only 19 percent of his PA. His walk rate has also increased by more than 2.5 percent since his rookie campaign. Compared to last year, Bryant is down in HR and RBI, but his average is the same, his on-base percentage is markedly better, and his slugging percentage is only down by a minute amount.
Diamondbacks second baseman Daniel Descalso hit his team’s third inside-the-park home run of the season during Thursday’s 4-0 win over the Astros. In the top of the fourth inning, with the score 1-0 and the bases empty, Descalso ripped a 1-0, 83 MPH change-up to right-center field. The ball caromed off the wall, heading towards left field, which sent center Jake Marisnick on the chase. Marisnick tried to pick up the ball with his glove, but dropped it, which sealed Descalso’s destiny for an inside-the-parker.
It had only been five days since the Diamondbacks’ last inside-the-park home run. David Peralta hit one against the Cubs on August 12. Ketel Marte legged out his club’s first ITPHR on July 26 against the Braves.
As ESPN Stats & Info notes, the Diamondbacks have three as a team, which is amazing because the other 29 teams have hit seven combined.