Lineups for Game 3 of the World Series at Busch Stadium …
CF Jacoby Ellsbury
RF Shane Victorino
2B Dustin Pedroia
1B David Ortiz
LF Daniel Nava
3B Xander Bogaerts
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia
SS Stephen Drew
SP Jake Peavy
As expected, David Ortiz is making the start at first base while Mike Napoli is on the bench with the designated hitter unavailable under National League rules. It hurts to sit Napoli, but the Red Sox can’t afford to be without Ortiz right now. The veteran slugger has five homers in 13 games this postseason, including one in each of the first two games of the World Series. The other notable changes include Daniel Nava in left field over Jonny Gomes and Xander Bogaerts being moved up to the No. 6 spot in the order. Stephen Drew remains in the lineup despite hitting just .095 (4-for-42) with a 15/1 K/BB ratio this postseason.
2B Matt Carpenter
RF Carlos Beltran
LF Matt Holliday
1B Matt Adams
C Yadier Molina
3B David Freese
CF Jon Jay
SS Pete Kozma
SP Joe Kelly
No designated hitter means that Allen Craig will be on the bench to begin Game 3. He has taken some ground balls at first base in recent days, but the Cardinals don’t want to rush him back into the field and cause a setback with his foot. Carlos Beltran is in the lineup after he went 2-for-4 with an RBI single Thursday in his return from a severe rib contusion. Meanwhile, Pete Kozma is back in the lineup after Daniel Descalso made the start at shortstop in Game 2.
Infielder Javier Baez is back in camp with the Cubs after helping Puerto Rico to a second-place finish in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He was the focal point of what was, to many, the most memorable play of the entire tournament: Baez pointed at catcher Yadier Molina, who was attempting to throw out a would-be base-stealer, before applying the tag for the final out of the eighth inning.
While Baez didn’t receive much criticism for his theatrics, aside from an insignificant handful of spoilsports, he is one of the players who most exemplifies the emotional, celebratory culture that foreign players bring to Major League Baseball. U.S. (and Tigers) second baseman Ian Kinsler is on the other side of that spectrum, as he said prior to the WBC final that he hopes kids mimic the solemn way U.S. players play the game rather than the emotional, passionate way players from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic play the game.
Baez isn’t about to apologize for the way he and his teammates play the game. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney, Baez said, “We do a great job playing and having fun out there. That’s what it’s all about. This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it. but, you know, everybody’s got their style and their talent. I have a lot of fun.”
He continued, “It’s their choice to look at how we play, how excited we get. To us, it’s really huge what we did, even though we didn’t win. All of Puerto Rico got really together. We were going through a hard time over there and everything got fixed up for at least three weeks. Hopefully, they keep it like that.”
Angels outfielder Mike Trout came up with an idea that would allow less experienced umpires an opportunity to call some major league spring training action. As ESPN’s Buster Olney reports, Trout thinks the veteran umpires should only call five or six innings as they get back into regular season shape. The rest of the innings could be called by minor league umpires.
According to Olney, baseball officials loved Trout’s idea when they heard about it last week. One official said, “It makes a lot of sense for a lot of different reasons.” Another said, “That’s Trout — he’s always paying attention to stuff beyond what he’s doing.”
Of course, I have to agree that the suggestion is a great one. As Olney notes, the turnover rate for umpires every year is relatively low, so younger, less-experienced umpires have few opportunities to get a feel for what it’s like calling major league action. Even beyond the actual interpretation of the rules, interacting with big league personalities would also be helpful for minor league umpires.