Albert Pujols and Joey Votto must go through Omar Infante to win the Triple Crown

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Believe it or not, Omar Infante may determine whether Albert Pujols or Joey Votto can win the Triple Crown.
Pujols leads the NL in homers and RBIs while ranking third in batting average. Votto leads the league in batting average while ranking second in RBIs and third in homers. There’s still a lot of baseball left to be played, but the two best hitters in the league are set up to go hit-for-hit down the stretch in search of the first Triple Crown since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.
That is, unless Infante gets enough playing time to qualify for the batting title.
Despite (controversially) making the All-Star team Infante spent the first half as merely a part-time player for the Braves, so right now he has just 338 plate appearances and his .350 batting average doesn’t appear on the official leaderboard. However, now that he’s playing every day Infante is rapidly closing in on the 502 plate appearances needed to qualify.
Plus, if he finishes a small number of plate appearances short there’s a rule in place that will give him hitless at-bats until he reaches 502. In other words, if he hits .350 in 490 plate appearances Infante will then be given an 0-for-12 for the purposes of determining the batting title.
Infante has averaged 4.5 plate appearances per start this season, so assuming he’s in the lineup for, say, 35 of the final 37 games he’d end up with around 495 plate appearances. It may prove to be a moot point if Infante slumps over the final six weeks, but right now he has a 27-point edge over Votto and is definitely a factor in the Triple Crown picture.

World Series Game 1 lineups

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The World Series kicks off Tuesday night at Fenway Park in Boston between the Dodgers and Red Sox. The Dodgers are aiming to take home their first championship since 1988 while the Red Sox haven’t won it all since 2013, a long and arduous five years. Here are the Game 1 lineups along with each player’s postseason stats.

Dodgers

2B Brian Dozier (R)
3B Justin Turner (R)
1B David Freese (R)
SS Manny Machado (R)
LF Chris Taylor (R)
DH Matt Kemp (R)
CF Enrique Hernández (R)
RF Yasiel Puig (R)
C Austin Barnes (R)

SP Clayton Kershaw (LHP)

Red Sox

RF Mookie Betts (R)
LF Andrew Benintendi (L)
1B Steve Pearce (R)
DH J.D. Martinez (R)
SS Xander Bogaerts (R)
3B Rafael Devers (L)
2B Ian Kinsler (R)
C Sandy León (S)
CF Jackie Bradley, Jr. (L)

SP Chris Sale (LHP)

No surprises here. Both teams loaded their lineups with right-handed hitters against the lefty starters. There won’t be any trickery, either, like what Brewers manager Craig Counsell tried to pull in the NLCS against the Dodgers, starting lefty Wade Miley and pulling him after one batter in favor of right-hander Brandon Woodruff. Both teams expect their respective starters to go deep into Game 1.