Allen Craig has passed whatever tests he needed to pass, because Cardinals manager Mike Matheny announced that the injured first baseman will be on the World Series roster after not playing since September 4 due to a foot injury.
Craig has been hitting for a while now, but the issue is whether his foot will allow him to run well enough to make a pinch-runner unnecessary. And it’s unclear if he’ll be more than a pinch-hitting option during the games in St. Louis without a designated hitter.
Either way, considering the weakness of the Cardinals’ bench getting Craig back at even a fraction of his healthy self will help. He hit .315 with 13 homers and an .830 OPS in 134 games during the regular season, including ridiculous numbers with runners in scoring position.
Matt Adams has hit .268 with one homer and a .724 OPS in 11 playoff games subbing for Craig at first base.
You may recall that, back in May, Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor got into a fight with Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. Bautista slid late into second base, with which Odor took issue, so he punched Bautista in the face. That earned him a seven-game suspension.
With one out in the fifth inning of Thursday’s game against the Indians, Odor reached on a fielding error by first baseman Mike Napoli. Jonathan Lucroy then hit into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play. Odor slid hard into Jason Kipnis covering second base.
Kipnis, hearkening back to the Bautista fight, backed up as if he were afraid Odor would punch him. Odor got a good chuckle out of it, but it was the Rangers’ bench which perhaps enjoyed the joke most. The Rangers’ broadcast showing Adrian Beltre cracking up and telling his other teammates what had happened.
Rangers outfielder Carlos Gomez made his debut with his new team on Thursday night after a brief stint with Triple-A Round Rock. He started in left field and was inserted into the number eight spot in the Rangers’ batting order.
The Rangers made two quick outs in the bottom of the second inning, with Adrian Beltre grounding out and Rougned Odor striking out. But the inning was kept alive as Jonathan Lucroy singled and advanced to second base on a wild pitch, and then Mitch Moreland walked to bring up Gomez.
Gomez took a first-pitch cutter from Josh Tomlin for a ball, then jumped on another cut fastball, drilling it for a no-doubt three-run home run into the seats in left field at Globe Life Park in Arlington (#29 out of 30 in Craig’s ballpark name rankings).
Here’s the video.