Cardinals utilityman Skip Schumaker drew the start in center field Monday night in Game 5 of the World Series, spelling a badly-slumping Jon Jay.
In Game 6, it will happen again.
According to B.J. Rains of FOX Sports Midwest, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa informed the media Wednesday afternoon at Busch Stadium that Schumaker will start in center field Thursday night against Rangers right-hander Colby Lewis.
Schumaker isn’t as talented defensively as Jay, nor does he have much experience playing center field, but he’s 7-for-14 this postseason with two doubles and four RBI. And he boasts a productive .301/.358/.393 career batting line against right-handed hitters. Beyond Allen Craig, who isn’t quite athletic enough to handle center, Schumaker represents St. Louis’ best option for offensive success at the position.
Jay will be available off the bench as a pinch-runner or defensive replacement. He was a late sub in Game 5.
La Russa also announced Wednesday that Nick Punto will start at second base in Thursday’s Game 6.
Pablo Sandoval could be tabbed to play second base in the near future, per a report from John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. According to Shea, Sandoval has been spotted taking grounders at second during pre-game warm-ups and may be considering switching to the keystone on a part-time basis.
It wouldn’t be the weirdest thing the 31-year-old corner infielder has done this year — that distinction goes to the flawless inning of relief he pitched in a blowout loss against the Dodgers last month. But it would represent a pretty notable departure from his comfort zone even so; Sandoval has primarily manned first and third base throughout his 11-year career in the majors and has also taken a few reps at DH during his resurgence with the Giants in 2018.
Of course, this wouldn’t necessarily be a permanent switch for Sandoval. As Shea points out, the Giants are thin on middle infielders after losing Joe Panik to a torn UCL in his left thumb and backup Alen Hanson to a left hamstring strain. Provided he can get up to speed quickly (no easy feat, according to infield coach Ron Wotus), he’d give the club some added depth behind Kelby Tomlinson and Miguel Gomez until Panik is ready to take the field again. Sandoval has impressed at the plate this spring, batting a healthy .270/.329/.429 with six extra-base hits and a .757 through 70 plate appearances.