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Chris Archer to make debut for Pirates vs. Cardinals

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The Pittsburgh Pirates beat out other teams to land right-hander Chris Archer at the non-waiver trade deadline Tuesday, and now they will get to see him in action.

Archer is scheduled to make his Pirates debut Friday when Pittsburgh opens a key National League Central series against the St. Louis Cardinals at PNC Park.

The Pirates gave up rookie outfielder Austin Meadows, right-hander Tyler Glasnow and a player to be named to acquire Archer from Tampa.

“Just the intensity he brings, the electric stuff that he has on the mound, he’s fun to watch,” Pittsburgh’s Sean Rodriguez, a former Rays teammate, said, according to mlb.com.

Archer is 3-5 with a 4.31 ERA and 1.39 WHIP in 17 starts. Over the past three seasons, he is 22-36 with a 4.10 ERA. He has been among the top three in the American League in strikeouts each of the past three seasons, the only Tampa pitcher to ever have three 200-strikeout seasons. He also has been reliably available, with at least 32 starts each of the past three seasons.

“We understand the surface numbers aren’t typical Chris Archer surface numbers,” Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. “We believe the indicators are there that Chris Archer is still an upper-echelon, top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher.”

Archer arrived Wednesday and received a warm welcome from teammates and fans.

“That was the biggest relief after all the trade rumors — these guys really want me,” Archer said.

Pittsburgh and St. Louis have identical 56-53 records, tied for third in the division, following the Cardinals’ walk-off 3-2 win on Thursday against Colorado.

The Pirates, who were off Thursday, have won 16 of their past 20 games, boosting them into wild-card contention.

The Cardinals are 8-7 since the All-Star break and are not only in a playoff chase but also in the midst of a youth movement.

Gone, in the minor leagues or on the disabled list are Tyler Lyons, Sam Tuivailala, Greg Holland, Luke Voit, Tommy Pham, Matt Bowman, Brett Cecil and Luke Gregerson.

Called up or added through trade are Daniel Poncedeleon, Auston Gomber, Dakota Hudson, Tyler Webb, Tyler O’Neill and Chasen Shreve. St. Louis also recently added eight minor league players.

That follows the firing of manager Mike Matheny.

“We could have done it many different ways,” president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said, according to mlb.com. “We look at our system, and we’re just trying to add to it as well as creating opportunity at the major league level. Not everybody is going to agree with that philosophy. But that’s our road map, and we’re hopeful it’s successful.”

He called the current stretch of games a “peek at the future.”

The Cardinals could get one veteran back over the weekend. Second baseman Kolten Wong (left knee inflammation) is expected to travel to Pittsburgh and be activated from the disabled list as soon as Friday.

Right-hander John Gant (3-4, 3.49 ERA) is scheduled to start Friday for St. Louis. Gant is coming off a 5-2 loss to the Cubs on Sunday, when he matched a season low with 4 1/3 innings. He allowed three runs, two earned, including two homers.

Gant is 0-1 with a 4.22 ERA in four career appearances, two starts, against Pittsburgh.

Mike Trout and Christian Yelich win the 2019 Hank Aaron Awards

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Major League Baseball announced today that Mike Trout and Christian Yelich have been selected as the American League and National League winners of the 2019 Hank Aaron Awards. The Hank Aaron Award, which was established in 1999, recognizes “the most outstanding offensive performers in each league.” A fan vote is part of it. A special panel of Hall of Fame players led by Hank Aaron weighs in as well.

Yellich, who is a back-to-back winner of the Award in the NL, led the Majors with a .671 slugging percentage and a 1.100 OPS, while leading the National League in batting average (.329), WAR (7.3) and OBP (.429). It was his third straight year with at least 100 runs scored and he set career-highs with 44 home runs and 30 stolen bases. He was the NL Player of the Week twice and stands a good chance of winning the NL MVP Award, though a late season injury will make it a pretty close vote.

Trout, who previously won the award in 2014, led the Majors with a .483 on-base percentage while leading the American League with a .645 slugging percentage and a 1.083 OPS. He was second in the AL with a career-best 45 home runs, was second i WAR (8.3) and, like Yelich, was a two-time Player of the Week winner. He too stands a good chance of wining the MVP though, he too, had a late season injury which could knock him down to second place.