Good news on two fronts for the Cardinals this evening, as second baseman Kolten Wong has been cleared to return and outfielder Matt Holliday could be activated from the disabled list as soon as tomorrow.
Wong showed signs of a concussion after he made a leaping catch during Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Cubs, but Cardinals manager Mike Matheny told John McGonigal of MLB.com this afternoon that he was cleared by doctors. He’s available off the bench tonight and the expectation is that he’ll be back in the starting lineup Friday.
Holliday has been out for a month with a Grade 2 strain of his right quad. He’s not ready to play in the outfield quite yet, but Matheny said that he could be an option off the bench this weekend during an important NL Central battle against the Pirates. Of course, Holliday was elected by the fans to start for the National League in next week’s All-Star Game and still hopes to play.
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.