Gerrit Cole
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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.

Giants hire Gabe Kapler as new manager

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The Giants announced on Tuesday the hiring of Gabe Kapler as manager. Kapler, filling the extremely large shoes of future Hall of Famer Bruce Bochy, inked a three-year deal, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. Kapler was one of three finalists for the job, beating out Astros bench coach Joe Espada and Rays bench coach Matt Quataro.

Following his 12-year playing career, Kapler was a coach for Israel’s team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic qualifier. He then became an analyst for FS1 before joining the Dodgers’ front office as the director of player development in November 2014. He was involved in three scandals there: one in which he tried to handle a sexual assault incident involving two Dodgers minor league players without telling police, one in which he allegedly discriminated against Nick Francona, a veteran and former baseball operations employee, and an incident that implicated most of the Dodgers’ front office concerning the recruiting of international free agents. The Dodgers reportedly kept a spreadsheet of employees and their level of criminality.

Despite Kapler’s background, the Phillies hired him as their manager ahead of the 2018 season. He would lead the Phillies to an 80-82 record that year and then helped them improve by one game in 2019, finishing at exactly .500 before being fired. Kapler’s tenure in Philly was tumultuous, often drawing ire from the local media and subsequently the fan base for not being tough enough on his players. The Phillies also reportedly had a clubhouse issue in 2018 in which players were playing video games in the clubhouse during games, prompting Carlos Santana to smash a TV with a bat.

Kapler has a history with Farhan Zaidi, the Giants’ president of baseball operations. They worked together in the Dodgers’ front office as Zaidi served as GM from November 2014-18.