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Cardinals, Braves tied 1-1 through five innings in NLDS Game 1

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It’s been a low-scoring affair thus far in Atlanta between the Cardinals and Braves in Game 1 of the NLDS. The two clubs are tied at 1-1, but not for a lack of opportunities. The Braves have had two hits and a walk and also had a runner reach via error while the Cardinals have racked up five hits with three walks.

Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas didn’t have his best stuff early, walking Ronald Acuña Jr. to start the bottom of the first inning. Acuña was thrown out attempting to steal second base, which proved huge for the Cardinals as Mikolas issued another walk to Ozzie Albies. Freddie Freeman then laced a single to left field, pushing Albies to third, making it easy for him to score when Josh Donaldson hit a grounder to second baseman Kolten Wong. It was going to be at least one guaranteed out but Wong rushed in an attempt to turn the double play, booting the grounder instead and allowing the first run of the game to score. Mikolas saw his way out of danger from there and has been sharp ever since.

Braves starter Dallas Keuchel had the opposite experience as Mikolas: strong early before faltering in the midgame. The Cardinals finally got to Keuchel in the fifth. Harrison Bader led off with an infield single, then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Mikolas. Bader stole third base, becoming the first base runner to swipe a bag off of Keuchel this season. Dexter Fowler brought him home with a ground out to the right side, tying the game at one apiece. Tommy Edman followed up with a double, spelling the end of Keuchel’s night. Darren O'Day came in, getting the final out of the inning.

Mikolas got into two-out trouble in the bottom half of the fifth, yielding a two-out double to Acuña but got Albies to pop up to end the frame. Mikolas is likely done, so it’s looking like a battle of the bullpens the rest of the way.

Michael Kopech has opted out of the 2020 season

Kopech has opted out
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Michael Kopech has opted out of the 2020 season. The White Sox starter informed the team of his decision today, and the team issued a press release to that affect a few minutes ago.

The statement from general manager Rick Hahn. said “we recognize that reaching this decision is incredibly difficult for any competitive athlete, and our organization is understanding and supportive. We will work with Michael to assure his development continues throughout 2020, and we look forward to welcoming him back into our clubhouse for the 2021 season.”

Kopech, 24, has only four big league starts under his belt, all coming in late August and early September of 2018, but after a strong spring training he was likely to make Chicago’s rotation at some point in the 2020 season after sitting out all of 2019 following Tommy John surgery. Kopech was among the players sent to Chicago from the Red Sox in the Chris Sale trade back in December 2016. Others involved in the deal included Yoán Moncada, Victor Diaz, and Luis Alexander Basabe.

Now, however, Kopech has opted out.