DJ LeMahieu
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Yankees take ALDS lead with 10-4 win over Twins

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The Yankees ran away with Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Friday, defeating the AL Central champion Twins by a score of 10-4 and gaining an early 1-0 lead in the series.

Although they finished a close second to the Twins in regular season home runs (306 to 307), the Yankees out-hit their AL rivals at every turn during Friday’s contest. Jorge Polanco led off the first inning with a solo shot against postseason newcomer James Paxton, followed by a 339-foot blast from Nelson Cruz in the third. In the bottom of the third inning, however, the Yankees rebounded with a three-run rally, capitalizing on Edwin Encarnación’s RBI double and a productive out and error that plated both Judge and Encarnación in one fell swoop and enabled the team to take the lead.

From there, things began to tip even further in their favor. Every time the Twins scored, the Yankees scored just one additional run to keep ahead of them. Polanco returned with an RBI single in the fifth, so Torres hit a two-RBI double in the bottom of the inning. Miguel Sanó homered off of Tommy Kahnle in the sixth, so DJ LeMahieu and Brett Gardner each hit a home run against rookie reliever Cody Stashak.

In the bottom of the seventh, after a quiet inning from the Twins, LeMahieu returned with a three-run double — boosting the Yankees to a 10-4 lead and becoming the club’s first first baseman to register four RBI in a postseason game since Tino Martinez’s performance in Game 1 of the 1998 World Series.

The Twins will look for their first win of the series on Saturday, when Game 2 of the ALDS is scheduled to kick off at 5:07 PM EDT. The Yankees are prepared to send right-hander Masahiro Tanaka to the mound, where he’ll try for his first playoff win since Game 2 of the 2018 ALDS. With both bullpens fairly taxed (11 total relievers were utilized as both José Berríos and James Paxton struggled to last through the fifth), the clubs will look to their starters to go a little longer this time around.

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.