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Astros ambush Tyler Glasnow in first inning to take 4-0 lead in ALDS Game 5

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After the Cardinals hung a 10-spot on the Braves in the first inning of NLDS Game 5 on Wednesday, the Astros tried to do the same to the Rays in ALDS Game 5 on Thursday. Facing Tyler Glasnow, who impressively posted a 1.78 ERA across 12 starts during the regular season, the Astros put their first four base runners on base and all four came around to score.

Gerrit Cole had a harmless top of the first inning for the Astros, recording a pair of strikeouts in the process. George Springer led off the bottom half with a line drive single. Michael Brantley followed up with a single of his own, putting runners on the corners with no outs. José Altuve then lined a single to right field, bringing Springer home and keeping runners on the corners. Alex Bregman plated both Brantley and Altuve with a double to right-center. Yordan Álvarez finally made the first out with a grounder that pushed Bregman to third base. Yuli Gurriel made it 4-0, sneaking a ground ball single to left field. Glasnow would finally see his way out of trouble with back-to-back strikeouts of Carlos Correa and Josh Reddick.

The Astros didn’t score 10 runs, but they’ll gladly take four first-inning runs to take a commanding lead in Game 5 of the ALDS. The loser is eliminated; the winner will face the Yankees in the ALCS.

Update: Eric Sogard cut into the lead by swatting Cole’s first pitch of the second inning over the fence in right field for a solo homer, making it 4-1. The Rays ain’t dead yet.

Rays’ Erik Neander named Executive of the Year

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At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.

Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.

The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.

At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).