The Texas Rangers released their starting lineup ahead of Game 2 of the ALCS on Monday, but one name was conspicuously absent from the team's betting order.
Rangers were surprised to see Evan Carter's name missing from the lineup, as the 21-year-old star rookie will take a seat for the first time this postseason.
Rangers ALCS Game 2 Lineup
Carter has been manning left field for Texas in the playoffs, but manager Bruce Bochy shockingly replaced him with switch-hitter Robbie Grossman for Game 2.
Bochy's reasoning likely has to do with the fact that Framber Valdez, a lefty, is starting for the Houston Astros on Monday. Carter bats lefty while Grossman hits from both sides, giving Grossman the platoon advantage to start the game.
That said, it doesn't make a ton of sense to take Carter out of the lineup right now. He's hit safely in all six postseason games thus far, batting an impressive .389/.560/.778 with 5 extra-base hits and 6 walks. He's red-hot right now, especially after clubbing a double and scoring a run during the Rangers' 2-0 victory in Game 1 on Sunday.
Grossman, on the other hand, hasn't done much during the playoffs, going 2-for-14 with 8 strikeouts in three games so far. He also hasn't played since Game 1 of the ALDS back on Oct. 7, so it's been nine days since his last at-bat. That's a long time for a hitter to go between plate appearances, so he's likely going to be pretty rusty.
In his defense, Grossman did hit lefties well during the regular season, slashing .309/.416/.536 against them. Carter barely played against southpaws, going hitless with 6 strikeouts in 11 plate appearances against them.
Still, it's a bit of a gamble by Bochy to sub out a hot hitter for a cold one. Carter will likely replace Grossman once Valdez exits and a righty comes in, so hopefully Grossman can defend his manager's decision with some quality at-bats against the All-Star southpaw.
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