Carlos Santana hasn’t played left field since 2012, but he’ll be playing left field in Game 3 of the World Series on Friday night.
That’s just the reality for a DH in the World Series.
“I’ve been on both sides of the ledger,” MLB Network analyst Harold Reynolds said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “I played my whole career in the American League, so I love the DH. But once I started broadcasting, I liked the National League better because of all the strategy and the movements. I think the uniqueness when we come to the World Series is you see the fullness of the game on both sides because we play different rules in each league. Would it be easier to just have a DH all the way across the board? I’m still torn on this. Do the Indians go on a little bit of a disadvantage? Yeah.”
A little bit? More like a lot a bit.
“Big, huge,” Reynolds clarified. “But I remember the Red Sox doing it with David Ortiz. Is he going to play first or is he going to sit out? That’s why you got to win that All-Star Game, which I think is ridiculous having home-field advantage based on an exhibition. But unless you change the rules and change that game and what that means, until that happens, we won’t see any movement as to evening out will it be a DH or will everybody have a pitcher hit?”
While Santana could be a liability in left, the Cubs will be without Kyle Schwarber, who has not been medically cleared to play in the field. Schwarber, 23, went 3-for-7 (.429) with two walks, a double and two RBIs in Games 1 and 2 of the World Series.
“If he gets cleared, he’ll play, which is crazy,” Reynolds said. “I’m one of the few analysts at MLB Network that was like, ‘This guy’s not going to be able to hit. Are you kidding me?’ The man has gone out and just raked. I still think it’s mind-boggling what he’s been able to do. Because he’s been out basically 10 months – not six or five. The season had ended, he sat for four months in the offseason, got hurt in the first week of the new season and sat out and came back at the World Series. I didn’t think he was going to be able to play at all. I think it’s amazing what he’s doing.”
The Cubs will start Kyle Hendricks in Game 3, while the Indians will turn to Josh Tomlin. Corey Kluber and John Lackey are slated to start Game 4, and the Cubs’ rotation will turn over in Game 5, with Jon Lester opposing Trevor Bauer – at least for now.
“I think the wild card in this whole deal is Danny Salazar,” Reynolds said. “With him throwing the other day in the game – he only threw an inning – but it was enough for me to say, ‘He’s got to throw Game 5 for the Indians.’ And if he does, then they go Kluber 4, Salazar 5, and you’re able to kind of hang in the series. But as we’ve seen, it’s going to be a bullpen game, and really, the Indians’ bullpen may be a little bit deeper than the Cubs. The bridge to Chapman is a lot different than the bridge to Allen because you’ve got Andrew Miller.”