Allen Craig is out for the NLDS because of a foot injury and general manager John Mozeliak does not expect him back for the playoffs regardless of whether the Cardinals make a deep run in October.
Appearing on 920-AM radio in St. Louis, the GM was asked about Craig’s return timetable and replied: “Could Craig play this postseason? Yes. Is it a high probability that he plays? No.”
Craig hit .315 with 13 homers and an .830 OPS in 134 games this season, including an NL-leading batting average with runners in scoring position, but the Cardinals are as prepared to replace him as any team could be thanks to Matt Adams. Limited to a part-time role for the much of the season, Adams hit .284 with 17 homers and an .839 OPS in 319 plate appearances overall and has the minor-league track record to suggest it was no fluke.
It’d obviously be nice to have both, especially since they swing from different sides of the plate and Craig is capable of playing multiple positions, but the Cardinals’ offense is certainly strong and deep enough to thrive with Adams at first base.
The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.
Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).
Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.