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Rays, Astros lineups for ALDS Game 2

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The Rays came up short against the Astros on Friday, falling 6-2 in ALDS Game 1 as José Altuve and Yuli Gurriel came up with a handful of pivotal plays to supplement seven innings of one-hit, eight-strikeout ball from Justin Verlander. The Rays mounted an eighth-inning rally with a couple of runs off of Ryan Pressly, but it barely made a dent in the Astros’ six-run lead.

In a nutshell: “We got Verlander-ed,” Rays manager Kevin Cash told reporters after the game.

Game 1 may have tested the Rays’ mettle, but they’re hardly on the brink of playoff elimination here. They’ll send 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell to the mound for Game 2 in an attempt to even the series.

  1. Yandy Díaz (R) 3B
  2. Austin Meadows (L) LF
  3. Tommy Pham (R) DH
  4. Ji-Man Choi (L) 1B
  5. Avisaíl García (R) RF
  6. Brandon Lowe (L) 2B
  7. Travis d'Arnaud (R) C
  8. Kevin Kiermaier (L) CF
  9. Willy Adames (R) SS

P: LHP Blake Snell

Díaz replaces Meadows at the top of the lineup, with Meadows in the no. 2 spot and Choi batting cleanup. Joey Wendle will be available off the bench as García takes his spot in the lineup for his first postseason appearance since the Wild Card Game.

Understandably, the Astros won’t be tinkering too much with their lineup. Their main weapon, of course, will be Gerrit Cole — a three-time All-Star who finished the regular season with a 20-5 record, 2.50 ERA, and league-best 326 strikeouts.

  1. George Springer (R) CF
  2. José Altuve (R) 2B
  3. Michael Brantley (L) LF
  4. Alex Bregman (R) 3B
  5. Yordan Alvarez (L) DH
  6. Yuli Gurriel (R) 1B
  7. Carlos Correa (R) SS
  8. Kyle Tucker (L) RF
  9. Martín Maldonado (R) C

P: RHP Gerrit Cole

The only notable changes here: Robinson Chirinos will be replaced behind the plate by Maldonado, while rookie Tucker will take over for Josh Reddick in right field.

Game 2 of the ALDS is scheduled for 9:07 PM EDT.

MLBPA proposes 114-game season, playoff expansion to MLB

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ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Major League Baseball Players Association has submitted a proposal to the league concerning the 2020 season. The proposal includes a 114-game season with an end date on October 31, playoff expansion for two years, the right for players to opt out of the season, and a potential deferral of 2020 salaries if the postseason were to be canceled.

Passan clarifies that among the players who choose to opt out, only those that are considered “high risk” would still receive their salaries. The others would simply receive service time. The union also proposed that the players receive a non-refundable $100 million sum advance during what would essentially be Spring Training 2.

If the regular season were to begin in early July, as has often been mentioned as the target, that would give the league four months to cram in 114 games. There would have to be occasional double-headers, or the players would have to be okay with few off-days. Nothing has been mentioned about division realignment or a geographically-oriented schedule, but those could potentially ease some of the burden.

Last week, the owners made their proposal to the union, suggesting a “sliding scale” salary structure. The union did not like that suggestion. Players were very vocal about it, including on social media as Max Scherzer — one of eight players on the union’s executive subcommittee — made a public statement. The owners will soon respond to the union’s proposal. They almost certainly won’t be happy with many of the details, but the two sides can perhaps find a starting point and bridge the gap. As the calendar turns to June, time is running out for the two sides to hammer out an agreement on what a 2020 season will look like.