Author: Aaron Gleeman

New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz (32) works during the first inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves on Friday, Sept. 11, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Mets confirm Steven Matz will start Game 4 regardless of Game 3 outcome

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Mets manager Terry Collins reiterated today that regardless of whether the team wins tonight to be down 2-1 or loses tonight to be down 3-0 left-hander Steven Matz will start Game 4.

Turning away from Matz would have required bringing back Matt Harvey on short rest, which the Mets aren’t willing to do. Matz has started twice in the postseason, allowing four runs in 9.2 innings after posting a 2.27 ERA and 34/10 K/BB ratio in six regular season starts as a 24-year-old rookie.

Harvey is scheduled to start Game 5, if necessary, followed by Jacob deGrom in Game 6 and Noah Synergaard in Game 7.

World Series, Game 3: Royals vs. Mets lineups

Yordano Ventura
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Here are the Royals and Mets lineups for Game 3 of the World Series in New York:

SS Alcides Escobar
2B Ben Zobrist
CF Lorenzo Cain
1B Eric Hosmer
3B Mike Moustakas
C Salvador Perez
LF Alex Gordon
RF Alex Rios
SP Yordano Ventura

Royals manager Ned Yost never makes lineup changes in the playoffs, but being without the designated hitter has forced him into benching No. 5 hitter Kendrys Morales and moving everyone up one spot. That’s a huge change to the lineup, as Morales is a switch-hitter who batted .290 with 22 homers, 41, doubles, and an .847 OPS while leading the Royals with 106 RBIs. The good news is that he’s now available as a late-inning bench option, perhaps to pinch-hit for Alex Rios.

RF Curtis Granderson
3B David Wright
2B Daniel Murphy
CF Yoenis Cespedes
1B Lucas Duda
C Travis d'Arnaud
LF Michael Conforto
SS Wilmer Flores
SP Noah Syndergaard

Now that the Mets are back to being without the designated hitter manager Terry Collins has opted for offense over defense, starting Michael Conforto in left field and Yoenis Cespedes in center field while leaving center fielder Juan Lagares on the bench. That’s been pretty standard for Collins, but it’s also the same defensive alignment that cost the Mets in Game 1 and caused a Collins lineup change in Game 2.

Rockies decline $9 million option on Justin Morneau

Justin Morneau

Colorado has declined its half of Justin Morneau‘s $9 million mutual option for 2016, making the former MVP first baseman a free agent at age 34.

Morneau was limited to just 49 games this season following another concussion, which have repeatedly derailed his career dating back to 2010 with the Twins. After several years of inconsistent production following the initial brain injury Morneau got on track enough to hit .316 with an .850 OPS for the Rockies during the past two seasons, but at this point his concussion issues go beyond baseball.

Yes, his inability to stay symptom free keeps Morneau out of the lineup and likely limits his market as a free agent, but it’s hard not to worry much more that another concussion could keep him from living a normal life.

Rangers part ways with longtime pitching coach Mike Maddux (and Greg Maddux)

Mike Maddux Rangers

Mike Maddux and the Rangers have parted ways after he spent seven seasons as Texas’ pitching coach. His brother, Hall of Famer Greg Maddux, is also leaving the Rangers organization after serving in a consultant role.

Mike Maddux said previously that he was open to remaining with the Rangers, but his contract was up and he apparently wanted to shop around for different opportunities before making a decision. The team decided not to wait around for him to return.

Bullpen coach Andy Hawkins and hitting coach Dave Magadan previously left the organization following a season in which the Rangers surprisingly made the playoffs with an 88-74 record.

Maddux presumably has another pitching coach gig lined up elsewhere, because he’s one of the most respected coaches in baseball.

Alex Anthopoulos named “Executive of the Year” on same day he quits as Blue Jays GM

Alex Anthopoulos Blue Jays

As if Alex Anthopoulos turning down a five-year contract extension offer from the Blue Jays and stepping down as general manager a week after being in the ALCS wasn’t drama enough, now there’s this:

Minutes before beginning a conference call with the local Toronto media to explain his side of the decision Anthopoulos received word from The Sporting News that he won the Executive of the Year award as voted on by his peers.

Anthopoulos said all the right things during the conference call, tossing around compliments without pointing any fingers, but it seems clear that once he realized the scope of his role in the Blue Jays’ front office was changing with the arrival of new team president Mark Shapiro he no longer wanted to be the GM, long-term contract or not.

And now he’s a free agent, albeit one with a shiny new award.