Maybe Alcides Escobar shouldn’t bat leadoff

18 Comments

Alcides Escobar finished with a .292 OBP this year. He came in at .246 in 117 at-bats in August and .257 in 109 at-bats between September and October, so he wasn’t exactly flying high entering the postseason. Still, that didn’t stop Ned Yost from putting him into the leadoff spot for Thursday’s Game 1 against the Astros.

Yost finally did reconsider hitting Escobar first in September. It took Alex Gordon‘s return to health, plus the previous addition of Ben Zobrist to the lineup, in order to make that happen. However, it didn’t stick. Escobar hit ninth in each of his starts from Sept. 7-26, batting .236 with a .276 OBP during that span. With five games left to go, he was suddenly returned to the leadoff spot. The Royals went on to win all five games. Yost saw it as a sign, even though Escobar went 5-for-22 with no walks in those games.

Escobar went 0-for-4 in Thursday’s loss to the Astros. He did not swing at the first pitch of the game, which probably explains the defeat.

It’s been difficult to argue with Yost since last year’s World Series run and this year’s incredible run out of the game. The blind spot with Escobar, though, gets rather infuriating. One can defend hitting him leadoff against the Astros’ lefties. His career OBP against southpaws is .319 (.316 this year). Against righties, he’s the most obvious No. 9 hitter alive, with a career .258/.290/.342 line (.252/.284/.314 this year). He’s not a pace-setter. He’s not a spark plug. He’s a liability.

Cubs-Cardinals series postponed after more positive tests

AP Photo
Leave a comment

ST. LOUIS — The entire three-game series between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis at Busch Stadium was postponed Friday night after two more Cardinals players and a staff member tested positive for the coronavirus.

Major League Baseball announced that the whole weekend set was off. Hours earlier, MLB said Friday night’s game had been scrapped to ensure everyone affected on the Cardinals was identified.

There have been 24 games postponed in the majors this season because of coronavirus concerns.

St. Louis has missed 10 games while Miami and Philadelphia each have had seven postponements. In order to complete the 60-game schedule in this shortened season, the Cardinals will have to play 55 games in 49 games once they return to the field.

The Cardinals have been off since last Friday, when two players returned positive coronavirus tests. Eight St. Louis players in total have tested positive, including star catcher Yadier Molina.

The Cardinals spent five days in quarantine in a Milwaukee hotel before finally being cleared to travel back to St. Louis late Tuesday, when they returned negative tests for the second straight day. They got workouts in at home and had been prepared to return to the field Friday.

St. Louis’ next game is scheduled for Monday at home against Pittsburgh. The Cubs are set to play Tuesday at Cleveland.

MLB released its most recent testing numbers Friday. The league said there were 13,043 samples taken last week with 13 positive results for a 0.1% positive rate. During the monitoring phase, there have been 53,826 overall samples that have returned 71 positives for a 0.1% positive rate. Of those 71 positive results, 49 are players and 22 are staff.

Among the players who confirmed they tested positive for COVID-19 were a pair of All-Stars in Molina and Paul DeJong.

Before Friday’s postponement, the Cardinals had already added three doubleheaders against the Brewers to a previously scheduled series to make up their three games postponed last weekend. Milwaukee will host doubleheaders Sept. 18 and 20 and will serve as the home team in the opener of a twinbill in St. Louis on Sept. 25.

The Cardinals will make up this week’s series against the Detroit Tigers with doubleheaders Aug. 13 and Sept. 10. St. Louis had been scheduled to play the Chicago White Sox at the Field of Dreams in Iowa on Aug. 13. Those teams will play in Chicago on Aug. 14 instead.