Allen Craig hasn't swung a bat in game action in more than six weeks. Wednesday, he'll be the Cards' cleanup hitter.
The Cardinals, who have just two players hitting above .260 this postseason, could use the boost.
Craig has been out since Sept. 4 with a foot injury, but he was added to the roster in place of Adron Chambers. Craig could be cleared for defensive duty when the series flips back to St. Louis. For now, he'll serve as the designated hitter.
"I feel like I have a good approach to go out there and do well, not having played in a few months," said Craig, who hit .315 this season. "We'll just see how it goes. I'm going to go out there and focus on competing. I'm not going to worry about my swing or my stance or too much. I'm just going to compete against the pitcher and see what happens. I'm really excited to get out there and play."
After a career year, Matt Carpenter has slowed down at the plate this postseason, reaching base safely just 25 percent of the time. He'll be hitting in front of postseason veteran Carlos Beltran, who leads the team with 12 RBIs.
Shane Robinson, leading the team with a .375 average in eight postseason at-bats, got the nod in center field while hitting eighth. Robinson has earned most of his playing time against lefties, off whom he hit .228 with a .598 OPS during the regular season.
1. Carpenter (2B) 2. Beltran (RF) 3. Matt Holliday (LF) 4. Craig (DH) 5. Yadier Molina (C) 6. David Freese (3B) 7. Matt Adams (1B) 8. Robinson (CF) 9. Pete Kozma (SS) Adam Wainwright (P)
The "momentum lineup" returns for the Red Sox.
While Daniel Nava hit .303 during the regular season, he's been held on the bench for much of the postseason. Manager John Farrell has instead been going with Jonny Gomes in left field. Gomes is 5-for-25 this postseason and is third on the team with six runs scored. He predominantly played against left-handed pitchers during the regular season, but Farrell has cited "intangibles" in Gomes' game that have earned him much of the playing time of late.
"Jonny has done an excellent job in the time that he started, evident by the way that we've performed by a team," Farrell said.
Nava will get at least one start when the series turns to St. Louis.
"Keeping Daniel Nava involved will be there," Farrell said. "And with more ground to cover in St. Louis, that will be something that will be factored in with the lineup over there, in addition to the right-handers we'll face there. At the same time, Daniel Nava, as we sat down and talked a couple of times and given my thoughts and rationale behind some of the decisions, he's on board and very much a team player. He admits and recognizes to his credit that this is about us as a team and not an individual."
Xander Bogaerts, 21, continues to get the starts at third base in front of Will Middlebrooks. Bogaerts has shown incredible poise at the plate, drawing five walks to one strikeout in 11 postseason plate appearances. He is 3-for-6 with three doubles.
David Ross will catch for Jon Lester. Ross has been Lester's personal catcher recently. Ross has demonstrated a real feel for what Lester has working each night. He also provides a calming influence for Lester, who often displays tangible emotion on the mound.
Stephen Drew, who is 3-for-35 with 12 strikeouts, is again at shortstop. Drew has yet to heat up at the plate, though he's played a pristine defensive game up the middle.
1. Jacoby Ellsbury (CF) 2. Shane Victorino (RF) 3. Dustin Pedroia (2B) 4. David Ortiz (DH) 5. Mike Napoli (1B) 6. Gomes (LF) 7. Bogaerts (3B) 8. Drew (SS) 9. Ross (C) Lester (P)