Not much went right for the Cardinals in Game 1 last night, but one bit of positive news is that Allen Craig had no problems with his foot while playing for the first time since September 4.
Craig went 1-for-4 with a single as the designated hitter and cleanup man, saying afterward: “I felt good to be out there.”
Because of his foot injury Craig was expected to exclusively play designated hitter in the games at Fenway Park and then likely serve as a pinch-hitter in the games at Busch Stadium, but if Carlos Beltran is forced to sit with a rib injury the Cardinals could certainly use Craig in right field.
He has plenty of experience there, but Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com writes that “he hasn’t done much in the field while preparing for a return and it’s iffy whether he’ll be able to play defense when the series shifts to St. Louis.”
Nothing went right for the Blue Jays this weekend. The club was swept in a four-game series against the Athletics, including a 9-2 loss on Sunday. Not wanting to burn out his bullpen in a lopsided game — and perhaps thinking about the general entertainment value involved — Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to send designated hitter Kendrys Morales out to pitch the ninth inning. And in typical baseball fashion, he saw better results than some of the dudes who do this all the time.
Morales, who actually pitched in Cuba nearly 20 years ago, worked around a walk for a scoreless inning. He induced three fly outs and topped out at 87.4 mph on his fastball, per Brooks Baseball. He received a standing ovation on the way back to the dugout. Morales hasn’t been hearing that sort of thing for his contributions with the bat recently.
Morales, 34, is batting just .163/.248/.279 with three home runs through 32 games this season. There’s been some understandable clamoring for top prospect Vladmir Guerrero, Jr. to cut into his at-bats. For his part, Morales has been doing everything he can to break out of his slumber at the plate, including ditching the glasses he started wearing during spring training. Hey, whatever works. Morales also had two of Toronto’s four hits on Sunday.
On the heels of Morales’ first MLB appearance on the mound, it feels rather appropriate that the Blue Jays will get their first look at Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani — at least as a hitter — beginning on Tuesday.