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Brewers, Nationals lineups for NL Wild Card game

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The postseason will officially be under way shortly after 8 PM ET tonight as the Nationals host the Brewers for the National League Wild Card game, broadcast on TBS. The Nationals finished four games behind the Braves in the NL East with a 93-69 record while the 89-73 Brewers narrowly lost the NL Central to the Cardinals by two games.

Brewers

RF Trent Grisham – .231/.328/.410, 6 HR, 24 RBI (183 PA)
C Yasmani Grandal – .246/.380/.468, 28 HR, 77 RBI (632 PA)
3B Mike Moustakas – .254/.329/.516, 35 HR, 87 RBI (584 PA)
2B Keston Hiura – .303/.368/.570, 15 HR, 59 RBI (348 PA)
LF Ryan Braun – .285/.343/.505, 22 HR, 75 RBI (508 PA)
1B Eric Thames – .247/.346/.505, 25 HR, 61 RBI (459 PA)
CF Lorenzo Cain – .260/.325/.372, 11 HR, 48 RBI (623 PA)
SS Orlando Arcia – .223/.283/.350, 15 HR, 59 RBI (546 PA)
P Brandon Woodruff – 11-3, 3.62 ERA, 143 K, 30 BB (121 2/3 IP)

The Brewers advanced all the way to Game 7 of the NLCS last year where they were ultimately defeated by the Dodgers. They will be trying to make an even deeper run this year without reigning NL MVP Christian Yelich, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in September.

Fun fact: Now that Bruce Bochy has retired, Brewers skipper Craig Counsell is now the longest-tenured manager in the National League.

Nationals

SS Trea Turner – .298/.353/.497, 19 HR, 57 RBI (569 PA)
RF Adam Eaton – .279/.365/.428, 15 HR, 49 RBI (656 PA)
3B Anthony Rendon – .319/.412/.598, 34 HR, 126 RBI (646 PA)
LF Juan Soto – .282/.401/.548, 34 HR, 110 RBI (659 PA)
1B Howie Kendrick – .344/.395/.572, 17 HR, 62 RBI (370 PA)
2B Asdrúbal Cabrera – .323/.404/.565, 6 HR, 40 RBI (146 PA)
C Kurt Suzuki – .264/.324/.486, 17 HR, 63 RBI (309 PA)
CF Victor Robles – .255/.326/.419, 17 HR, 65 RBI (617 PA)
P Max Scherzer – 11-7, 2.92 ERA, 243 K, 33 BB (172 1/3 IP)

The Nationals haven’t advanced past the NLDS since 1981, when they were the Expos. They will have to get past the Brewers first and then will have the privilege of facing the Dodgers, who won 106 games, in the NLDS. With Scherzer, Patrick Corbin, Stephen Strasburg, and Aníbal Sánchez, this is perhaps their best iteration of a starting rotation since their run began in 2012.

Another fun fact: The visiting team is 5-2 in the NL Wild Card game since the playoffs added the Wild Card game in 2012. The visiting team has gone 3-4 in the AL Wild Card game.

The winner of tonight’s Wild Card game will travel to Los Angeles, opening the NLDS against the Dodgers on Thursday night.

Rays’ Erik Neander named Executive of the Year

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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).