The Astros found themselves in a bit of a jam in the bottom of the fifth inning against the Tigers on Saturday afternoon. Rookie starter Lance McCullers allowed a leadoff double to James McCann followed by an infield single by Jose Iglesias. McCann then came around to score when second baseman Jose Altuve made a throwing error on an Anthony Gose ground ball. That gave the Tigers a 2-1 lead with runners on first and second base with no outs.
Ian Kinsler got ahead in the count 2-1 against McCullers, but rolled over on a slider, sending a ground ball to third baseman Jonathan Villar. Villar stepped on the bag, whipped a throw to Altuve, who sent the ball down to first baseman Chris Carter to compete the 5-4-3 triple play.
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).