Facing an infield shift with the bases empty and two outs in the first inning, Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano bunted down the third base line against Red Sox starter John Lackey. With third baseman Will Middlebrooks playing too far off the line, the ball trickled towards the stands to the left of the line. Shortstop Stephen Drew dashed after it, then fired to second but Cano was already at the bag safely for a double.
Unfortunately for the Yankees, Alfonso Soriano struck out swinging to end the inning, making Cano’s glorious double all for naught. The Red Sox scored four in the bottom half of the inning against Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda. The Yankees did get one run in the top of the third on a Brendan Ryan home run, his fourth of the season and first as a Yankee.
At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.
Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.
The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.
At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).