In an effort to keep Juan Francisco’s bat in the lineup, the Blue Jays plan to use Brett Lawrie at second base when they face a right-handed pitcher, Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi reports. Lawrie has logged only 69 defensive innings at second base in his big league career, though he did spend a majority of his minor league career there.
Francisco is off to a hot start, slashing .292/.382/.585 with five home runs and 12 RBI in 18 games since being recalled from Triple-A on April 18. The Blue Jays signed Francisco on April 1, a week after the Brewers released him.
Lawrie hasn’t been nearly as productive at the plate, slashing .229/.276/.407 despite hitting six home runs and knocking in 21 runs. Chris Getz and Ryan Goins will see a reduction in playing time as a result of Lawrie’s move to second base.
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.