Lineups for Game 5 at Busch Stadium …
CF Jacoby Ellsbury
2B Dustin Pedroia
1B David Ortiz
LF Jonny Gomes
RF Daniel Nava
3B Xander Bogaerts
SS Stephen Drew
C David Ross
SP Jon Lester
Shane Victorino is out of the lineup again with a back injury, so Daniel Nava replaces him in right field and Jonny Gomes plays left field while batting cleanup versus a right-handed pitcher. As expected David Ortiz remains at first base and David Ross gets the nod behind the plate over Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
2B Matt Carpenter
CF Shane Robinson
LF Matt Holliday
RF Carlos Beltran
C Yadier Molina
1B Allen Craig
3B David Freese
SS Pete Kozma
SP Adam Wainwright
UPDATE: Allen Craig initially was not in the lineup, but the Cardinals made a last-minute change to insert him at first base and in the sixth spot instead of Matt Adams. It’ll be interesting to see just how hobbled he is, because it couldn’t have looked good as of just a few hours ago.
Shane Robinson again replaces Jon Jay versus a left-hander and moves up in the order to the No. 2 spot, with Carlos Beltran sliding into a middle-of-the-order role as Matheny shakes things up.
The Arizona Fall League competition came to a close on Saturday, concluding with the Peoria Javelinas’ 8-2 win over the Mesa Solar Sox for the championship title. No one stood out more than Braves’ no. 1 prospect Ronald Acuna, who took home honors as the AFL MVP after slashing .325/.414/.639 with a league-leading seven home runs and second-best 1.053 OPS in 83 at-bats.
At just 19 years old, Acuna is the youngest prospect to receive the award. He made his presence felt even before he suited up for the AFL, earning promotions to the Braves’ Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett and batting a remarkable .325/.374/.522 with 21 home runs across three levels in 2017.
Acuna was also a major factor in the Javelinas’ win on Saturday, but he wasn’t the first to make some noise. The Solar Sox got to right-hander T.J. Zeuch in the first inning, leading off with three singles and a run-scoring sac fly to get a 2-0 edge over the Javelinas. It was the only lead they’d get all afternoon and it lasted just two innings. Luis Urias snapped the shutout with a sac fly in the bottom of the second inning, and the Javelinas took the lead with a game-tying RBI single from Acuna and two-run base hit from Braves’ no. 16 prospect Alex Jackson in the third.
From then on, it was smooth sailing for Peoria. Andrew Case, Andres Munoz and Art Warren combined for 3 1/3 scoreless innings in relief, while the offense tacked on another handful of runs with Acuna’s fourth-inning two-RBI single and Michael Chavis’ eighth-inning triple. With runners at the corners and one out, the Solar Sox lifted right-hander Dakota Bacus for fellow righty Nolan Blackwood. Even he was flummoxed by Acuna, however, who grabbed hold of the first pitch he saw and returned another sac fly to center field for the Javelinas’ eighth and final run of the game.
Only 131 days left until Opening Day, folks.