Thursday, April 26, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Cardinals have plane issues

BOSTON — As if the Cardinals didn't have enough problems in the World Series, mechanical difficulties delayed their scheduled afternoon flight to Boston well into Tuesday night.

Players, family and team officials sat on the plane waiting for a repair or a replacement plane for about seven hours.

Around 5 p.m., shortly after they were supposed to land, manager Mike Matheny did a media conference via cell phone.

"Everybody seems to be doing all right," he said. "We're fortunate that our club allows our families to travel with us. We have some younger kids. But I'm impressed with how everybody has handled it.

"Fortunately, we have plenty of food, snacks for the kids, lots of entertainment with on-board movies. And everybody travels with all their high-tech stuff. Most of these kids are pretty happy that they're not in school right now, and it's a great way to spend a day."

Tonight's Game 6 starter, rookie Michael Wacha, said it wasn't as bad as it sounded.

"Everyone is just walking around," he said. "Nobody is in a bad mood or anything like that. The attitude is pretty good."

LINING UP: The Red Sox "fully expect" Shane Victorino (who missed the past two games due to lower back stiffness) to be in rightfield tonight, manager John Farrell said. They plan to stick with David Ross behind the plate, based on his solid defense and unexpected offense, and ex-Ray Jonny Gomes in leftfield.

Though lefty-swinging Daniel Nava would seem the logical choice in left, Farrell said he liked the matchup better for Gomes.

Also, back playing under American League rules, they will have Mike Napoli at first base as David Ortiz — and his .733 average (11-for-15) — slides back to DH.

The Cardinals got a good report from Allen Craig, who played first base Monday despite issues with his sprained left foot, and expect him to be at DH tonight.

Matheny said they were "running through multiple lineups … scratching all over the place" in determining a batting order with a major question whether to hit RF Carlos Beltran second or fourth.

BIG PAPI: Ortiz joked on Monday night that he's always this hot, saying, "I was born for this." Tuesday, though, he was a bit defensive: "I know I've been hitting well, but it's not like, 'Here, Papi, hit it.' They've been pitching me carefully, and I've been able to put good swings on the ball and come through."

PITCHING IN: Tonight's matchup is a rematch of Game 2 with Wacha facing Red Sox veteran John Lackey. Though the Cardinals know the atmosphere will be electric, Wacha said he will be unfazed. "I'm not going to pay any attention to it," he said. "I'll keep going about my business like in all my starts this year."

MISCELLANY: Though Ortiz has that .733 average, the rest of the Sox are hitting .151 — for a .205 team average. The Cards are hitting .218. … The six teams that overcame 3-2 deficits on the road to win the Series: 1926 Cardinals (against the Yankees), 1934 Cardinals (Tigers), 1952 Yankees (Dodgers), 1958 Yankees (Braves), 1968 Tigers (Cardinals) and 1979 Pirates (Orioles). The last six to try failed, most recently the 2009 Phillies against the Yankees. … The decisive run has been scored in the seventh inning or later in three of the five games.

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