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Juan Soto’s two-run homer gives Nationals early lead vs. Dodgers in NLDS Game 3

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Pressure doesn’t seem to affect 20-year-old slugger Juan Soto. After playing the role of hero in the National League Wild Card game against the Brewers, the Nationals’ outfielder swatted a two-run home run to center field, opening the scoring against Dodgers lefty and NL Cy Young Award contender Hyun-Jin Ryu in the first inning of NLDS Game 3 in Washington, D.C.

Soto was a runner-up to Ronald Acuña Jr. in NL Rookie of the Year voting last year. He followed it up with an equally impressive sophomore campaign in 2019, batting .282/.401/.548 with 34 home runs, 110 RBI, 110 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases in 659 plate appearances. He’s one of only four players with a 30-homer, 110-RBI season at age 20 or younger. The others are Álex Rodríguez, Ted Williams, and Mel Ott. Pretty good company.

Nationals starter Aníbal Sánchez will take the early run support from Soto. In the top half of the first inning, Sánchez allowed a single and a pair of walks to load the bases but escaped the threat.

Josh Reddick says he and his Astros teammates have received death threats

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Yesterday Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle spoke to Athletics pitcher Mike Fiers. In the course of the interview, Fiers revealed that he has received death threats for blowing the whistle on the Astros’ cheating. Rob Manfred said last week, before the interview came out, that Major League Baseball would do everything in its power to protect Fiers and his family both when the A’s play in Houston and when they play anyplace else.

Manfred’s pledge of protection is going to need to be expanded, because today the guys on whom Fiers blew the whistle are saying they’ve received death threats as well.

At least Josh Reddick is saying it:

It’s obviously disgraceful for anyone to have to endure this sort of crap. People need to get a grip.