Here are the lineups for Game 3 of the Cardinals-Rangers series tonight:
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS TEXAS RANGERS
1. Rafael Furcal, SS 1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
2. Allen Craig, RF 2. Elvis Andrus, SS
3. Albert Pujols, 1B 3. Josh Hamilton, CF
4. Matt Holliday, LF 4. Michael Young, DH
5. Lance Berkman, DH 5. Adrian Beltre, 3B
6. David Freese, 3B 6. Nelson Cruz, RF
7. Yadier Molina, C 7. Mike Napoli, 1B
8. Jon Jay, CF 8. David Murphy, LF
9. Ryan Theriot, 2B 9. Yorvit Torrealba, C
SP Kyle Lohse, RHP SP Matt Harrison, LHP
Tony La Russa has made a couple changes of note to his lineup as the series shifts to Texas for Game 3. In addition to installing Lance Berkman as the designated hitter under American League rules, Allen Craig will make the start in right field and bat second against the left-hander Matt Harrison. Jon Jay, who batted second in the first two games of the series, slides down to the eighth spot in the order. Finally, Ryan Theriot will make his first start of the series at second base and bat ninth.
As expected, Yorvit Torrealba is behind the plate for Game 3 while Mike Napoli plays first base and Michael Young serves as designated hitter. Torrealba, who struck out in a pinch-hit appearance in Game 2, hasn’t started a game since Game 4 of the ALCS against the Tigers on October 12. The 33-year-old backstop is hitting .308 (4-for-13) this postseason. David Murphy is back in the lineup for Game 3 after Craig Gentry started in center field against the left-hander Jaime Garcia in Game 2. Josh Hamilton, who started in left field on Thursday night, is back in center field tonight.
World Series Game 1 was billed as a battle of aces, the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw against Chris Sale of the Red Sox. Between them, they have 14 All-Star Game nominations. Kershaw has won three Cy Young Awards. Sale could his first Cy Young Award this year. Among his 10 seasons with at least 110 innings pitched, Kershaw has never posted a sub-2.92 ERA. Sale has been at 2.90 or below in each of the last two seasons. The two have combined for over 4,000 career strikeouts and both have averaged better than a strikeout per inning over their careers.
And yet Tuesday’s Game 1 was anything but a pitcher’s duel between Kershaw and Sale. Though a couple of fielding mistakes weren’t of any help to Kershaw in the first inning, Red Sox batters were squaring him up good. Of the five balls put in play in the first inning, three had exit velocities of 100 MPH or higher. Of the 12 total balls put in play against him overall, five reached triple digits in exit velo.
Kershaw gave up a pair of runs in the first, another run in the third on a J.D. Martinez double to straightaway center field, and another two in the fifth. Kershaw led off the fifth by walking Mookie Betts, then giving up a single to Andrew Benintendi, ending his night. Ryan Madson relieved Kershaw and proceeded to allow both inherited runners to score. All told, Kershaw yielded five runs on seven hits and three walks with five strikeouts on 79 pitches in four-plus innings.
Sale, meanwhile, was on the hook for individual runs in the second, third, and fifth. Dodger hitters weren’t squaring him up quite as well as the Red Sox batters squared up Kershaw, but Sale was still more hittable than usual. Of the eight balls put in play against him, four were at least 90 MPH in exit velo. One of the runs was a no-doubt solo home run to Matt Kemp in the second. The Dodgers chased Sale in the fifth when he issued a leadoff walk to Brian Dozier. Matt Barnes relieved him allowed the inherited runner to score. Overall, Sale threw 91 pitches in four-plus innings, serving up three runs on five hits and two walks with seven strikeouts.
The game is now, as has been generally the case throughout this postseason, a battle of the bullpens.