St. Louis Cardinals' first baseman and outfielder Allen Craig will not start in the field in World Series Game 3 against the Boston Red Sox, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Craig missed all of September and the first two rounds of the playoffs with a foot injury, but returned to the lineup as the designated hitter for the first two games of the World Series and went 2-for-7 with a walk. The series shifts to Busch Stadium for the next three contests, so the teams will not get to use a DH in those games.
Although Craig has been ruled out for Game 3, there is a possibility he could start in Game 4 and/or Game 5, reports Nightengale. If Craig were to start a game in St. Louis, it would almost certainly be at first base rather than in the outfield; in such a scenario, current first baseman Matt Adams would be forced to the bench. Adams has struggled at the plate in the playoffs, hitting .245/.302/.347 in 53 plate appearances combined throughout all three rounds. He also had a hefty platoon split in the regular season, posting an 876 OPS against righties and a 654 OPS against lefties, so it might make sense to start Craig in Game 5 against southpaw Jon Lester. Craig has an 885 career OPS against left-handers.
While the Cardinals figure out whom to play and whom to bench, the Red Sox also have a tough decision to make. Manager John Farrell announced on Monday that David Ortiz will get at least one start at first base in St. Louis, but every start that Ortiz makes will force Mike Napoli to the bench. Napoli drove in the first runs of the World Series with a three-run double off of Adam Wainwright in the first inning of Game 1.