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Astros thump Rays in Game 1 of the ALDS

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Well, that could’ve gone better for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Justin Verlander was, well, Justin Verlander. The Astros ace — one of ’em anyway — tossed seven shutout innings, allowing only one hit and striking out eight. The Rays drew three walks but never really threatened while he was in the game. The Astros won 6-2.

Verlander’s counterpart Tyler Glasnow got into a jam in the third but was otherwise pretty good for four innings, throwing near-100 m.p.h. heat and not allowing a run. That fifth inning, though, was a lulu.

After giving up a leadoff walk to ninth place hitter Josh Reddick, Glasnow struck out George Springer. With José Altuve at the plate he delivered his 76th and final pitch of the game: a 97.5 m.p.h. fastball up high. Velocity is great, but big league batters can adjust to it eventually. Atuve, one of the best big league hitters there is, was not fazed. He put lumber on it and sent it into the Crawford Boxes to give the Astros a 2-0 lead:

With Glasnow gone reliever Brendan McKay put two more runners on and the Rays gave up two more due to bad defense, with both runners scoring on a fly ball that fell in between the second baseman and right fielder. The second baseman was charged with an error:

The sides traded zeros in the sixth but then the Astros plated two more in the bottom of the seventh via RBI doubles from Yordan Álvarez and Yuli Gurriel, both off of Oliver Drake. It was 6-0 at that point and A.J. Hinch lifted Verlander to start the eighth.

That agreed with the Rays, who managed to rally for two runs on four hits off of Ryan Pressly, with Eric Sogard singling in a run and Austin Meadows doubling one in. Hinch lifted him with two outs and runners on the corner. Will Harris came in and got Ji-Man Choi to end the would-be comeback before it really came all that far back. Roberto Osuna came on in the ninth and set the Rays down in order to end it.

Welp, at least Verlander is out of the way. Now all the Rays have to do is beat Gerrit Cole and Zack Greinke.

Good luck, guys!

Rockies, Trevor Story agree on two-year, $27.5 million contract

Trevor Story
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ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Rockies and shortstop Trevor Story have come to terms on a two-year, $27.5 million deal, buying out his two remaining years of arbitration eligibility.

Story, 27, and the Rockies did not agree on a salary before the deadline earlier this month. Story filed for $11.5 million while the team countered at $10.75 million. The average annual value of this deal — $13.75 million — puts him a little bit ahead this year and likely a little bit behind next year.

This past season in Colorado, Story hit .294/.363/.554 with 35 home runs, 85 RBI, 111 runs scored, and 23 stolen bases over 656 trips to the plate. He also continued to rank among the game’s best defensive shortstops. Per FanGraphs, Story’s 10.9 Wins Above Replacement over the last two seasons is fifth-best among shortstops (min. 1,000 PA) behind Alex Bregman, Francisco Lindor, Xander Bogaerts, and Marcus Semien.

With third baseman Nolan Arenado likely on his way out via trade, one wonders if the same fate awaits Story at some point over the next two seasons.