Yasiel Puig
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Lineups for NLCS Game 2

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The Brewers have won 12 straight games, dating all the way back through September 23. Extending that winning streak through the National League Championship Series might be improbable, but there’s been nothing to suggest that the Dodgers will bring their NL rivals to a grinding halt when the two go head-to-head during Game 2 of the NLCS on Saturday.

Here are the lineups:

Dodgers

1. Chris Taylor (R) LF CF
2. Justin Turner (R) 3B
3. David Freese (R) 1B
4. Manny Machado (R) SS
5. Matt Kemp (R) RF LF
6. Enrique Hernández (R) 2B
7. Yasiel Puig (R) RF
8. Austin Barnes (R) C
9. Hyun-Jin Ryu (L) P

The Dodgers will shift things around in the outfield to accommodate Puig (and give the still-hitless Cody Bellinger a breather), who will return to his post in right field after sitting during Game 1 of the series. After a rough night for Grandal, who was charged with an error, passed ball, and catcher’s interference during Friday’s 6-5 loss, Barnes will get the nod behind the plate.

Brewers

1. Lorenzo Cain (R) CF
2. Christian Yelich (L) RF
3. Ryan Braun (R) LF
4. Jesus Aguilar (R) 1B
5. Mike Moustakas (L) 3B
6. Travis Shaw (L) 2B
7. Erik Kratz (R) C
8. Orlando Arcia (R) SS
9. Wade Miley (R) P

The Brewers will stick with the same lineup they did in Game 1, with just two exceptions. The left-handed hitting Shaw will swap in for righty Hernan Perez at the keystone, while Kratz will make his first start behind the dish since Game 3 of the NLDS.

Game time is set for 4:09 PM EDT. Whether or not the Brewers pull off another win, they’ll get the opportunity to clinch the series in Los Angeles when it shifts to Dodger Stadium for Games 3-5 on Monday.

The Nationals have inquired about Kris Bryant

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The Washington Nationals, fresh off signing Stephen Strasburg to a $245 million deal, are now turning their attention to their third base hole. Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports that they have made inquiries to the Chicago Cubs about trading for Kris Bryant.

Emphasis on the word “inquiry” because it’d be premature for the Cubs to trade Bryant at the moment, even if they are reported to be considering the possibility.

Bryant and the Cubs are awaiting word from an arbitrator about Bryant’s years-old service time grievance. If Bryant wins, he becomes a free agent after the 2020 season. If the Cubs win they control him for two more years. The team may or may not choose to trade him in either case as they are reportedly trying to cut payroll, but the price for him will vary pretty significantly depending on whether or not the acquiring club will receive one or two years of control over the former MVP.

For Washington, this would be a means of replacing free agent third baseman Anthony Rendon. Or, perhaps, the inquiries are a means of creating a tad more leverage for the Nats as they talk to Rendon’s agent about re-signing him.

Which, in the past, the Nats said they could not do if they also re-signed Strasburg, though I suspect that’s just posturing too. They may not want to spend big money to keep their World Series core together, but they can afford it. They’re going to see, I suspect, an eight-figure uptick in revenue by virtue of being the defending World Series champs. They are poised to receive a significant payout as a result of recent rulings in their own multi-year dispute with the Orioles and the MASN network. They are, of course, owned by billionaire real estate moguls. All of that taken together means that, if they choose to, they can bring back Rendon. Assuming he chooses to come back too.

But, if that doesn’t happen, they appear to be giving themselves options at the hot corner.