A look at Wednesday's lineups for Game 6 of the World Series between the Cardinals and Red Sox at Fenway Park:
Nobody in the Cards' lineup has had any success against John Lackey -- not in this series, and not in any previous series.
Sporting the best averages against Lackey are Matt Adams and Jon Jay. Each is 1-for-4. The heart of the Cardinals' order -- Carlos Beltran, Matt Holliday and Allen Craig -- has combined to go just 2-for-24 off Lackey.
At least they have Michael Wacha on the mound.
And, from No. 2 though No. 5, the Cards have hitters who have swung the bat well this World Series; Beltran, Holliday, Craig and Yadier Molina are all batting .286 or above. Getting Craig back in the lineup for a full game should help. He had resorted to pinch-hitting duty during the National League portion of the World Series schedule.
If Matt Carpenter (.217 OBP this World Series) can get on base at the top of the lineup, the Cardinals will be set up for success. They went 28-3 when Carpenter scored at least two runs during the regular season.
1. Carpenter (2B)
2. Beltran (RF)
3. Holliday (LF)
4. Craig (DH)
5. Molina (C)
6. Adams (1B)
7. David Freese (3B)
8. Jay (CF)
9. Daniel Descalso (SS)
Shane Victorino returns to the Red Sox's lineup fresh off winning his first Gold Glove Award as a right fielder (he had won three in center field for the Phillies). Victorino missed the last two games with back soreness, but he is unrestricted as he takes the field on Wednesday.
There's only one caveat: Victorino is hitting sixth.
"In talking with Vic about this yesterday, he was understanding of it," manager John Farrell said. "He's hit in the five-hole quite a bit, particularly against right-handed starters when he was hitting left-handed. Gave him my reasons for it, for what we mentioned as well as keep the other two guys at the top of the order."
Victorino is 0-for-10 this series. Victorino had hit second for most of the season, but the top three of Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz worked well enough to persuade Farrell to stick with it. Farrell also said he wants to lengthen the lineup behind Ortiz, who is hitting .733 in 15 at-bats with four walks.
The Red Sox get the benefit of Mike Napoli returning to first base. Napoli, who led all Major League first basemen in most defensive metrics this season, was on the bench the last three games while Ortiz played first base in St. Louis. Napoli is hitting fourth.
Jonny Gomes gets the start in left field ahead of Daniel Nava, with Farrell sighting matchup specifics in the way Wacha pitches benefiting Gomes.
David Ross is getting his third straight start behind the plate. Ross is 3-for-12 this series while calling strong games for the pitching staff.
1. Ellsbury (CF)
2. Pedroia (2B)
3. Ortiz (DH)
4. Napoli (1B)
5. Gomes (LF)
6. Victorino (RF)
7. Xander Bogaerts (3B)
8. Stephen Drew (SS)
9. Ross (C)