National League rules are causing quite the conundrum for the Red Sox. As they’ll be in St. Louis for Games 3, 4, and 5, they will have to watch their pitchers bat rather than utilizing a DH, normally David Ortiz. They must choose one of Ortiz and Mike Napoli, who has been playing first base throughout the post-season. Scott Miller of CBS Sports tweets that the Red Sox have chosen to go with Ortiz at first base while Mike Napoli will ride the bench, at least for Game 3. Ortiz played first base during interleague play, even as recently as September 24-25.
Both Ortiz and Napoli have been their team’s most productive hitters, so this is a bit of a blow. Ortiz owns a .268/.392/.659 line in the 2013 post-season while Napoli is at .225/.326/.475.
Red Sox manager John Farrell will also switch it up in left field, going with Daniel Nava over Jonny Gomes. Nava hasn’t started a post-season game for the Sox since Game 4 of the ALCS against Tigers starter Doug Fister. Gomes got the vote of confidence from Farrell despite facing two right-handed starters. He is hitless in seven trips to the plate in World Series play thus far.
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.