Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz made an early exit from Saturday’s loss to the Giants after experiencing soreness in his right Achilles tendon. It’s not thought to be a serious issue, but the 31-year-old slugger is not in the starting lineup for Sunday’s series finale.
According to Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest, Cruz believes the discomfort was brought on by a new pair of cleats that he began wearing at the start of last week’s four-game set in Oakland. He switched back to his old spikes in time for Saturday’s game but the damage had apparently already been done.
David Murphy is playing right field, Josh Hamilton is playing left field and Craig Gentry will handle center on Sunday afternoon in San Francisco. Cruz is batting .258/.312/.428 with eight home runs, 15 doubles and 36 RBI in 59 games this season. He should return Tuesday night against the Diamondbacks.
MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that the Dodgers plan to tab ace Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of the World Series. Nothing is set in stone yet ahead of Tuesday’s Game 1 of the World Series. In the event Kershaw can’t start Game 1, Rich Hill would start. Otherwise, Hill would start Game 4.
Kershaw, started Game 1 and Game 5 of the NLCS against the Brewers, then closed out Game 7 with a flawless inning. He was hit around to the tune of five runs (four earned) over three-plus innings in Game 1, but rebounded for seven innings of one-run ball in Game 5. He struck out two en route to sending the Dodgers to the World Series in the ninth inning of Game 7.
Kershaw also tossed eight shutout innings against the Braves in Game 2 of the NLDS. Overall, he has a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings this postseason. There was no doubt who would be the Dodgers’ first choice to start Game 1, but it’s a relatively recent situation where the ace of a team also closed out the final game of the previous series.
Hill has put up a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings this postseason. While he doesn’t have Kershaw’s pedigree, the Dodgers would be confident having him lead off the series. Hill was excellent down the stretch last year, helping the Dodgers reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Astros.
The Red Sox plan to start Chris Sale in Game 1 now that he’s recovered from a brief stint in the hospital due to a stomach ailment. The lefty has a 3.48 in 10 1/3 innings in the playoffs this year. He’s among a handful of candidates for the AL Cy Young award after posting a 2.11 ERA in the regular season, but his lack of innings (158) may hurt him.