HOUSTON – As the Rangers face potential elimination in Game 6 of the AL Championship Series, they have made a lineup adjustment by benching rookie Evan Carter, their late-season standout.
With left-handed pitcher Framber Valdez starting for Houston, manager Bruce Bochy has opted for his usual lineup against lefties. This means Robbie Grossman, who excelled against left-handed pitching this season with a .953 OPS, will play left field and bat third.
Although Carter has been hitting .313 in the postseason, the second-highest on the team behind Josh Jung, he, like many others on the roster, has struggled against Houston’s formidable pitching staff in the ALCS.
“Believe me, we considered all options,” stated manager Bruce Bochy. “But this is the lineup that has brought us success against left-handers. Carter will be ready if called upon.”
Carter has a batting average of .222 (4 for 18) with two walks and six strikeouts. Grossman had two at-bats against Valdez in Game 2 of the series but failed to register a hit before being replaced by Carter when Valdez left the game. The Astros don’t have any left-handed relievers in their bullpen. Since being called up in September, Carter has mostly faced right-handed pitching. He has only encountered left-handers 17 times between the regular season and playoffs, resulting in just one hit out of 15 at-bats (.067), along with a couple of walks and an average exit velocity of 74.9 mph on balls put into play.
In the postseason, Grossman has a batting average of .125 (2 for 16) with a walk and eight strikeouts. It is likely that he will only play until Valdez is taken out of the game.
The complete lineup:
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