Billy Butler and Nori Aoki to return to Royals’ lineup for Game 6 of World Series

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According to Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald, Royals manager Ned Yost confirmed during a media session this afternoon that Billy Butler and Nori Aoki will return to the starting lineup tomorrow night for Game 6 of the World Series against the Giants.

It’s not a big surprise. Butler and Aoki were on the bench for Games 3-5 in San Francisco, with Jarrod Dyson playing center field and Lorenzo Cain in right. However, Yost can go back to his familiar lineup now that the team has returned home to Kauffman Stadium. Cain will slide over to center field to make room for Aoki in right and Butler will slot in at designated hitter.

Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star notes that there could still be a tweak with the “standard” playoff lineup, as Yost is considering moving Mike Moustakas up from the No. 9 spot in the order.

Justin Verlander named 2019 American League Cy Young Award winner

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Astros starter Justin Verlander was voted by the Baseball Writers Association of America as the 2019 American League Cy Young Award winner. Teammate Gerrit Cole finished in a close second place at 159 points. Charlie Morton finished third at 75 points, Shane Bieber fourth at 64, Lance Lynn fifth at 18, Eduardo Rodríguez and Lucas Giolito sixth at eight, and Mike Minor eighth at seven.

Verlander, 36, won the AL Cy Young Award (and AL MVP Award) in 2011 with the Tigers). He and Cole became the first pair of teammates to finish first and second on the ballot for the AL Cy Young Award. Four NL teammates accomplished the feat: Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling in 2001 and ’02, Don Newcomb and Sal Maglie in 1956, and Mike Marshall and Andy Messersmith in 1974.

During the regular season, Verlander led all starting pitchers in wins (21), games started (34), innings pitched (223), and WHIP (0.803). He also compiled a 2.58 ERA with a 300/42 K/BB ratio. Along with a 300-strikeout season, Verlander achieved other milestones, including reaching 3,000 strikeouts for his career and 200 career postseason strikeouts (an all-time record).

2019 was not without controversy for Verlander, a future Hall of Famer, as he had a well-publicized disagreement with Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press. He tried to have Fenech barred from the clubhouse during media availability despite the collective bargaining agreement ensuring access to BBWAA-credentialed reporters. It was one of many Astros-related scandals in 2019.

Verlander is the first Astro to win the Cy Young Award since Dallas Keuchel in 2015. Roger Clemens (2004) and Mike Scott (1986) also won the award back when the Astros were in the National League.