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.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Mariners are among the teams that have contacted the Reds about outfielder Jay Bruce. The Mariners enter play Wednesday 51-48, six games out of first place in the AL West and 4.5 games out of the second AL Wild Card slot. Adding an impact bat like Bruce could help in their effort to reach the postseason.
Norichika Aoki and Seth Smith have handled the bulk of the playing time in left field. While Smith has hit well, Aoki has not. Bruce came into Wednesday’s game against the Giants batting .271/.324/.567 with 24 home runs and a league-best 78 RBI.
Bruce can become a free agent after the season if his controlling team declines his $13 million club option for the 2017 season by paying him a $1 million buyout. If he’s traded mid-season, his new team won’t be able to make him a qualifying offer, so the club option may be more enticing than it looks at first glance.
A third-inning two-run home run by Adam Rosales off of R.A. Dickey put the Padres up 2-0, but it also helped the Padres tie a National League record. The Padres have homered in 25 consecutive games, matching the 1998 Braves, the 1994 Tigers, and the 1941 Yankees. The major league record is 27, set by the 2002 Rangers.
The Padres hit three in total on Wednesday in an 8-4 victory against the Blue Jays. One of those dingers was an eighth-inning solo shot by rookie Alex Dickerson, who has now homered in four consecutive games himself. The one he hit on Monday is worth watching, as it got into the upper deck at the Rogers Centre.
As the Padres recently traded Melvin Upton, Jr. to the Jays, Dickerson is likely going to see regular playing time. That’s especially true if he keeps hitting like this.