Anibal Sanchez
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Aníbal Sánchez took NLCS no-hit bid into the eighth

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The National League Championship Series began with a bang on Friday — or, rather, without one, as Nationals hurler Aníbal Sánchez tossed 7 2/3 no-hit innings against the Cardinals.

With the series lead up for grabs in Game 1, the veteran right-hander managed to improve on what has already been a very solid start to the postseason so far. He previously pitched for the Nationals in Game 3 of the NLDS, issuing one run, two walks, and nine strikeouts over five innings before the bullpen blew the lead in the seventh. On Friday, he did his best to make sure the Cardinals wouldn’t get a similar opportunity. Sánchez expended 91 pitches through 7 2/3 frames, allowing one walk (and two hit-by-pitch) and striking out five of 25 batters faced.

Behind him, the Nationals mustered up two runs of support against St. Louis righty Miles Mikolas. In the second inning, Howie Kendrick led off with a double into the right-center field gap, and later came around to score after Yan Gomes pounced on a slider from Mikolas and returned it to left field for his first RBI of the series. In the seventh, with Mikolas out of the game and Giovanny Gallegos, Andrew Miller, and John Brebbia clearly struggling to curb Washington’s offense, Kendrick returned with an RBI single to pad the lead, 2-0.

Had Sánchez completed the no-hitter, he would have been the first to do so in a Nationals uniform since Max Scherzer‘s twin no-nos in June and October of the 2015 regular season, and the first pitcher of any MLB team to complete a postseason no-hitter since Roy Halladay shut out the Reds during Game 1 of the 2010 NLDS. Even without that distinction, however, the righty ended his bid in an impressive fashion:

Rockies, Trevor Story agree on two-year, $27.5 million contract

Trevor Story
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ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Rockies and shortstop Trevor Story have come to terms on a two-year, $27.5 million deal, buying out his two remaining years of arbitration eligibility.

Story, 27, and the Rockies did not agree on a salary before the deadline earlier this month. Story filed for $11.5 million while the team countered at $10.75 million. The average annual value of this deal — $13.75 million — puts him a little bit ahead this year and likely a little bit behind next year.

This past season in Colorado, Story hit .294/.363/.554 with 35 home runs, 85 RBI, 111 runs scored, and 23 stolen bases over 656 trips to the plate. He also continued to rank among the game’s best defensive shortstops. Per FanGraphs, Story’s 10.9 Wins Above Replacement over the last two seasons is fifth-best among shortstops (min. 1,000 PA) behind Alex Bregman, Francisco Lindor, Xander Bogaerts, and Marcus Semien.

With third baseman Nolan Arenado likely on his way out via trade, one wonders if the same fate awaits Story at some point over the next two seasons.