This could be the last game of the Blue Jays’ season. If it is, they are once again going with a former 50-HR man in the leadoff spot. Bautista has done this before the playoffs to varying degrees of success. For now it’s all about shaking him out of a slump: he’s 1-for-17 with no extra-base hits since homering in the ninth inning of Game 2 of the AL Division Series.
Manager John Gibbons made one lineup change from yesterday: he has flip-flopped Ezequiel Carrera and Kevin Pillar in the seventh and eighth spots. Godspeed, Toronto:
1. Jose Bautista (R) RF
2. Josh Donaldson (R) 3B
3. Edwin Encarnacion (R) 1B
4. Troy Tulowitzki (R) SS
5. Russell Martin (R) C
6. Michael Saunders (L) DH
7. Ezequiel Carrera (L) LF
8. Kevin Pillar (R) CF
9. Ryan Goins (L) 2B
For his part, Terry Francona is repeating his Game 3 lineup, which was also his Game 1 lineup:
1. Carlos Santana (S) DH
2. Jason Kipnis (L) 2B
3. Francisco Lindor (S) SS
4. Mike Napoli (R) 1B
5. Jose Ramirez (S) 3B
6. Lonnie Chisenhall (L) RF
7. Coco Crisp (S) LF
8. Tyler Naquin (L) CF
9. Roberto Perez (R) C
The game gets going just after 4pm Eastern time.
SAN DIEGO — We spend a lot of time on these pages criticizing Major League Baseball’s decisions. And yeah, they make a lot of questionable decisions (or logical decisions which serve questionable motives). But in the past day or so they’ve certainly gotten a couple of things right.
First was what we posted about last night: MLB moving to take marijuana off the banned substance list for minor leaguers. This, combined with the recent report that MLB/MLBPA are moving to a treatment, as opposed to a punishment-based regimen for opioids, shows that sense, as opposed to hysteria and optics, is beginning to move to the fore when it comes to baseball’s drug policies. It’s certainly welcome.
Also reported last night — by Kendall Rogers of the website d1baseball.com — Major League Baseball plans to move the amateur draft from the MLB Network studios in New Jersey to Omaha, Nebraska, and schedule it at just at the start of the College World Series. The move has not been officially announced yet, but I’d expect an MLB press release on it before we all get on our planes on Thursday morning.
It would be nicely coordinated too, Rogers says, coming just after the super regionals but before the actual CWS. This would allow the top players expected to go to all be on hand, either as players in the CWS or because, hey, they just got done and would probably be there anyway. It’s way better than putting a six guys in a green room in Secaucus. That’s always so awkward. You can tell they don’t really want to be there and don’t know what to do with themselves. In Omaha they’ll be among their friends, teammates, family, and counterparts. The atmosphere will almost certainly radically change for the better.
It’s still a very, very tall order to ever create the same level of interest in the MLB draft that exists for the NFL or NBA drafts, as the structure of college football and basketball and the fame of its stars is a totally different deal coming in. But this is a positive move forward for the baseball draft. Good job to whoever’s idea it was.