John Mabry likely to replace Mark McGwire as hitting coach with Cardinals

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With Mark McGwire set to accept the hitting coach job with the Dodgers, the Cardinals are expected to look in-house for a replacement.

While the Cardinals offered no comment on coaching matters yesterday, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that the club may name John Mabry as their new hitting coach as soon as Monday. The club is expected to announce Triple-A Memphis pitching coach Blaise Ilsley as their new bullpen coach on the same day.

This would be a natural transition for Mabry, who joined Mike Matheny’s staff as assistant hitting coach last offseason after Mike Aldrete was promoted to bench coach. Another former Cardinal, he played eight seasons of his 14-year major league career with the club.

With McGwire on the way out and Mabry poised to be promoted, Cardinals intend to settle on their next assistant hitting coach from within the organization. It’s difficult to quantify the impact of two hitting coaches, but plenty of teams have jumped on board with the idea since Tony La Russa started the trend in 2008.

Dodgers plan to tab Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of World Series

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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.