Molina returns for Cards; Bryant moves to third
Starting lineups for Game 1 of Division Series
The starting lineups for tonight's Game 1 of the National League Division Series between the Cubs and Cardinals have been posted. St. Louis' lineup includes seven-time All-Star catcher Yadier Molina, who hasn't played since Sept. 20 because of a strained ligament in his left thumb.
The best-of-five series begins tonight at 5:30 CT at Busch Stadium (TBS).
Coghlan starts in left field
Chris Coghlan, who has a .471 career average against Cardinals starter John Lackey, will start in left field. Rookie Kyle Schwarber, who started in right field in the NL Wild Card Game, remains there, and Kris Bryant is at third base. Bryant started in left field in the Wild Card game, which the Cubs won, 4-0, against the Pirates.
Schwarber hit an RBI single in the first inning and a two-run homer in the third in that game, and is one of four rookies to drive in runs in each of their first two postseason plate appearances. The others are the Athletics' Angel Mangual (1971), the Braves' Mike Mordecai (1995) and the Rays' Evan Longoria (2008).
The Cubs kept veteran catcher David Ross matched with starting pitcher Jon Lester. Lester is 6-4 with a 2.46 ERA in 12 career postseason starts, including a 1.63 ERA in four career Division Series starts.
The key for the Cubs again could be leadoff man Dexter Fowler, who was 3-for-4 with two singles and a solo home run and scored three runs in the Wild Card Game. Before each of his at-bats, Fowler gets a message from manager Joe Maddon: "You go, we go."
Dexter Fowler, cf
Kyle Schwarber, rf
Kris Bryant, 3b
Anthony Rizzo, 1b
Starlin Castro, 2b
Chris Coghlan, lf
Addison Russell, ss
David Ross, c
Jon Lester, p
Molina batting seventh
In addition to Molina batting seventh, manager Mike Matheny's lineup also features Stephen Piscotty at first base, a position the rookie has started at just nine times previously, and Jason Heyward in center field. By moving Heyward to center, where he started only eight games this year, the Cardinals made room for Randal Grichuk in right field.
Grichuk, who has been working his way back from an August elbow injury, is still somewhat limited in his throwing ability, but the Cardinals covet his bat against Chicago lefty starter Jon Lester. Grichuk hit .265/.297/.522 against left-handed pitching this season. He is, however, 0-for-6 with five strikeouts against Lester.
No one has hit Lester better than Heyward, who will bat cleanup for the 45th time this season. He enters the game 10-for-24 with four doubles and one home run against Lester.
Matt Carpenter, 3b
Stephen Piscotty, 1b
Matt Holliday, lf
Jason Heyward, cf
Jhonny Peralta, ss
Randal Grichuk, rf
Yadier Molina, c
Kolten Wong, 2b
John Lackey, p