After delivering RBI hits off the bench in each of the first two games Allen Craig will move into the starting lineup for the next three games as the World Series shifts to Texas and American League rules.
Craig is expected to serve as the Cardinals’ designated hitter for Games 3, 4, and 5, although it’s possible manager Tony La Russa could decide to use him in the outfield at some point while shifting Matt Holliday or Lance Berkman to the DH spot.
During the regular season Craig made at least five starts in all three outfield spots in addition to 10 total infield starts at third base and second base, hitting .313 with nine homers and a .917 OPS in 47 total starts. He batted .324 with a .920 OPS in 36 appearances off the bench.
And with Craig in the starting lineup at least Alexi Ogando can begin planning ahead for their next matchup.
The Mariners are in the midst of reconstructing their roster, a process which most recently resulted in the trade of first baseman/DH Edwin Encarnación to the Yankees, per a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan. While the teams have yet to publicly confirm the deal, the Mariners are expected to receive pitching prospect Juan Then and will likely eat a significant portion of Encarnación’s salary as well.
Encarnación is a sizable get for the Yankees, who could benefit from the veteran’s power and consistency in their ongoing drive toward the postseason. The 36-year-old infielder missed some time with a bout of lower back tightness, dental issues, and soreness in his left hand, but has still maintained a decent .241/.356/.531 batting line with an AL-best 21 home runs, an .888 OPS, and 1.7 fWAR through his first 289 plate appearances of the year. Per Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, Encarnación has another $11-12 million left on his contract in 2019, with a $20 million option for the 2020 season and a $5 million buyout.
Then, 19, was acquired by the Yankees in a three-person trade with the Mariners during the 2017 offseason. The right-hander currently ranks no. 27 in the Yankees’ system and made his last pro ball appearance for New York’s rookie-level affiliate in 2018, pitching to a 2.70 ERA, 2.0 BB/9, and 7.6 SO/9 across 50 innings. It’s not clear if any other players are involved in the trade, though USA Today’s Bob Nightengale notes that no other prospects are thought to be included in the package for Encarnación.