Peter Bourjos began the season as the Cardinals’ primary center fielder, but then he slumped his way into fewer starts in favor of Jon Jay and now it looks like he’s been benched altogether.
St. Louis called up prospect Randal Grichuk and is now giving him some of the playing time previously reserved for Bourjos, with manager Mike Matheny explaining it to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch rather bluntly:
The assignment for us is to be honest, as open with him as possible. “We’ve got to get you going, but we’ve got to get our club going, too. If we have an opportunity to bring some player in who can get us a jolt we’re going to make a shot at it. Stay ready.”
Bourjos is hitting .160 with a .510 OPS in 20 games, which is bad enough that even his always excellent defense can’t make up for it.
Grichuk was acquired from the Angels, along with Bourjos, in the David Freese trade, so his now pushing Bourjos aside–in the short term, at least–is a weird little twist. His strike zone control and plate discipline leave a lot to be deserved, but Grichuk has 20-homer power and right now the Cardinals are desperate for some offense.
Oh, and there’s also this: Freese is hitting .188 for the Angels.
Here are the Rangers and Blue Jays lineups for Game 1 of the ALDS in Toronto:
CF Delino DeShields
RF Shin-Soo Choo
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Prince Fielder
1B Mike Napoli
LF Josh Hamilton
SS Elvis Andrus
2B Rougned Odor
C Robinson Chirinos
SP Yovani Gallardo
With left-hander David Price on the mound for Toronto the Rangers are going with Mike Napoli at first base over Mitch Moreland. Beyond that it’s a pretty standard lineup for Texas, or at least standard for what manager Jeff Banister used down the stretch once Josh Hamilton was healthy enough to play left field.
LF Ben Revere
3B Josh Donaldson
RF Jose Bautista
DH Edwin Encarnacion
SS Troy Tulowitzki
1B Justin Smoak
C Russell Martin
2B Ryan Goins
CF Kevin Pillar
SP David Price
After returning from the disabled list for the final weekend of the regular season Troy Tulowitzki is in the lineup and batting fifth. That allows Ryan Goins to play second base in place of the injured Devon Travis. Justin Smoak gets the nod over Chris Colabello at first base against a right-hander.
Houston made one unexpected change to the roster for the ALDS, leaving off veteran reliever Chad Qualls.
Qualls warmed up but never appeared in the Wild Card game win over the Yankees and during the regular season the 36-year-old right-hander logged 49 innings with a 4.38 ERA and 46/9 K/BB ratio. Qualls was on the Astros’ last playoff team in 2005.
Utility man Jonathan Villar has been bumped off the roster in favor of outfielder Preston Tucker, as the Astros opted for a good left-handed bat off the bench versus the Royals rather than Villar’s speed.