Chris Carpenter

No surprise: Cardinals will turn to Chris Carpenter in Game 1

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By avoiding a Game 7 in the NLCS the Cardinals are able to line up their rotation for the World Series, which means Chris Carpenter will start Game 1 against the Rangers.

He’ll be matched up against C.J. Wilson, although Texas hasn’t made that official yet.

Carpenter was needed for Game 162 of the regular season and Game 5 of the NLDS–and he threw complete-game shutouts in both starts–so Kyle Lohse and Jaime Garcia got the Game 1 assignments in the first two playoff rounds.

Carpenter finished the regular season on fire, going 3-0 with a 1.13 ERA in his final five starts, but surrounded the NLDS gem against the Phillies with a pair of poor playoff outings (one of them on short rest).

He tossed eight shutout innings versus the Tigers in his lone World Series start in 2006. He was also with the Cardinals during their previous run to the World Series in 2004, but didn’t pitch because of an injury. For his playoff career the 36-year-old former Cy Young winner is 7-2 with a 3.11 ERA in 12 starts.

Braves ink Blaine Boyer to a minor league deal

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 2:  Relief pitcher Blaine Boyer #48 of the Milwaukee Brewers delivers to home plate during the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on October 2, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
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The Braves have signed reliever Blaine Boyer to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports. Bowman adds that the right-hander has a “good chance” to make the Braves’ bullpen out of spring training.

Boyer, 35, spent the past season with the Brewers, finishing with a 3.95 ERA and a 26/17 K/BB ratio in 66 innings.

Boyer, of course, started his professional baseball career with the Braves as they selected him in the third round of the 2000 draft. Since the Braves traded him in 2009, Boyer has pitched for the Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Mets, Padres, and Twins along with the Brewers.

Report: Rays nearing a deal with Shawn Tolleson

ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 18: Reliever Shawn Tolleson #37 of the Texas Rangers pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals in the eighth inning at Busch Stadium on June 18, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.

Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.