Lineups for Game 2 of the NLCS in St. Louis …
LF Carl Crawford
2B Mark Ellis
1B Adrian Gonzalez
RF Yasiel Puig
3B Juan Uribe
CF Skip Schumaker
C A.J. Ellis
SS Nick Punto
SP Clayton Kershaw
Big changes now that Hanley Ramirez has been scratched due to sore ribs. Carl Crawford and Mark Ellis remain remain in the same spots, but everybody else will move up in the order. Meanwhile, Nick Punto will play shortstop. Andre Ethier made his first start in center field in nearly a month last night, but it’s no surprise to see Skip Schumaker in there with the quick turnaround after the extra-inning loss in Game 1. Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports that X-rays on Ethier’s left ankle came back negative after last night’s game, but he’s clearly not 100 percent.
2B Matt Carpenter
RF Carlos Beltran
LF Matt Holliday
C Yadier Molina
3B David Freese
1B Matt Adams
CF Jon Jay
SS Pete Kozma
SP Michael Wacha
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny has altered his lineup slightly with left-hander Clayton Kershaw on the hill for Los Angeles. Yadier Molina will move into the cleanup and David Freese will bat sixth while Matt Adams and Jon Jay both slide down in the order.
Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.
Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.
Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.
The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.
Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.
Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.