CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - At some point Friday afternoon Tribe manager Terry Francona will post his lineup for game 3 of the World Series. Until he does there will be speculation that he will take the bold step of putting Carlos Santana in the lineup and play him in left field.
Santana is the Indians regular designated hitter and sometimes first baseman. Game 3 however will be played in Wrigley Field home of the National League Champion Chicago Cubs and in the National League the pitchers bat for themselves so in any games played in National League parks there is no designated hitter.
Francona's decision will come down to weighing the difference between getting more offense in the lineup with Santana or going with better defense from Brandon Guyer or Coco Crisp in left field.
Santana has taken some fly balls in left field during the Indians workouts but he has played only four innings during his major league career in left field.
Playing Santana at 1st base is not an everyday option because then you would have to take Mike Napoli out of the lineup. Napoli and Santana have been the Tribe's two top run producers this season and they tied for the team lead with 34 home runs so it makes sense to get them both in the lineup.
The risk of course comes by putting Santana in left field you take the chance that he could struggle defensively.
Napoli said of Francona, "He's gonna find a way to get us both in there. We're gonna be all right."
Francona is one of the best managers in baseball and has been praised for pushing all the right buttons for the Tribe this postseason, but he is well aware that whatever decision he makes in this case has the chance to end up being second guessed.
First pitch Friday night in Chicago is set for 8:08 p.m.
Josh Tomlin will pitch for the Tribe and Kyle Hendricks for the Cubs, the series is tied at one game apiece.
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