World Series, Game 1: Cardinals-Red Sox lineups

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Lineups for Game 1 at Fenway Park …

Cardinals:
2B Matt Carpenter
RF Carlos Beltran
LF Matt Holliday
DH Allen Craig
C Yadier Molina
3B David Freese
1B Matt Adams
CF Shane Robinson
SS Pete Kozma

SP Adam Wainwright

As expected Allen Craig is in the lineup at designated hitter, playing for the first time September 4, and he’s back in the cleanup spot versus left-hander Jon Lester. Lefty bat Matt Adams moves down in the order and Cardinals manager Mike Matheny has again benched Jon Jay in favor of righty bat Shane Robinson.

Red Sox:
CF Jacoby Ellsbury
RF Shane Victorino
2B Dustin Pedroia
DH David Ortiz
1B Mike Napoli
LF Jonny Gomes
3B Xander Bogaerts
SS Stephen Drew
C David Ross

SP Jon Lester

Red Sox manager John Farrell is yet again going with righty bat Jonny Gomes over switch-hitter Daniel Nava in left field versus a right-handed pitcher. Nava hit .322 off righties during the regular season and Gomes is 5-for-25 (.200) with zero homers in the playoffs, so … who knows.

Farrell has also benched Wil Middlebrooks at third base, moving rookie Xander Bogaerts into the lineup just like he did in the ALCS finale. And behind the plate David Ross gets the start over Jarrod Saltalamacchia with Jon Lester on the mound.

Evan Longoria: “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base.”

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The Rays were busy over the weekend, trading starter Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, designating All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, and then picking up C.J. Cron in a deal with the Angels. The Rays saved about $4 million — Odorizzi’s $6.3 million less Cron’s $2.3 million salary — and picked up a prospect. They’re still on the hook for Dickerson’s $5.95 million salary until they can find a trade partner, which seems likely.

Those are some head-scratching moves if you’re a Rays fan or a member of the Rays. Dickerson hit .282/.325/.490 with 27 home runs, 62 RBI, and 84 runs scored in 629 plate appearances last season, part of which resulted in his first trip to the All-Star Game. Designating him for assignment is strictly a financial move, assuming he can be traded. The Rays are currently operating with a payroll below $70 million. This comes just a week and a half after Rays ownership proposed the public footing most of the bill for the club’s new stadium. And the Rays had traded third baseman Evan Longoria — then the face of the franchise — to the Giants earlier this offseason.

Longoria expressed sympathy for Rays fans for having to put up with this. Via Andrew Baggarly, Longoria said of the curious Dickerson move, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base. … I’m not going to take too many shots but it’s pretty obvious that guy is a valuable player and didn’t deserve to be DFAd. Corey was our best player last year.”

Longoria isn’t quite on the money there. By WAR, Dickerson ranked fifth among position players on the team, according to Baseball Reference. FanGraphs is also in agreement. Still, it’s indisputable that Dickerson, who turns 29 years old this May, more than pulled his weight. The Rays do not have a surfeit of starting outfielders, so it wasn’t like they were making room for other capable players. Mallex Smith, who put up a .684 OPS in 282 PA last year, is slated to start in left field at the moment. Designating Dickerson for assignment, as well as trading Longoria and Odorizzi, were simply cost-cutting decisions.

The Rays’ M.O. has been part of the problem leading to the current stagnant free agent market (sans Eric Hosmer‘s eight-year deal on Saturday). Teams like the Rays, Phillies, Reds, and Tigers have been explicitly putting out non-competitive teams in order to facilitate a rebuilding process. Longoria is right to express sympathy for Rays fans, who see their favorite team worsening a roster that went 80-82 last year. The Rays haven’t finished at .500 or above since 2013 and doesn’t figure to halt the streak this year.