Max Scherzer
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Nationals, Cardinals lineups for NLCS Game 2

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The Nationals kicked off the National League Championship Series with a strong performance from Aníbal Sánchez on Friday night, shutting out the Cardinals 2-0 as they claimed a 1-0 lead in the series. On Saturday, they’ll try to spin that into a two-game lead behind Max Scherzer, who currently owns a 2.77 ERA across three postseason outings so far this fall.

For the most part, the Nationals aren’t going to mess with the lineup that defended Sánchez’s near no-hitter. Michael A. Taylor has been bumped down in the lineup, while Yan Gomes has been moved to the bench as Kurt Suzuki returns from a hit-by-pitch:

  1. Trea Turner (R) SS
  2. Adam Eaton (L) RF
  3. Anthony Rendon (R) 3B
  4. Juan Soto (L) LF
  5. Howie Kendrick (R) 2B
  6. Ryan Zimmerman (R) 1B
  7. Michael A. Taylor (R) CF
  8. Kurt Suzuki (R) C
  9. Max Scherzer (R) P

The Cardinals will stick with the same configuration for Game 2, though they’re hoping for a drastically different outcome this time around. Wainwright is scheduled to take the mound for his second start of the playoffs, following an NLDS Game 3 loss in which he pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings of two-walk, eight-strikeout ball against the Braves.

  1. Dexter Fowler (S) CF
  2. Kolten Wong (L) 2B
  3. Paul Goldschmidt (R) 1B
  4. Marcell Ozuna (R) LF
  5. Yadier Molina (R) C
  6. Matt Carpenter (L) 3B
  7. Tommy Edman (S) RF
  8. Paul DeJong (R) SS
  9. Adam Wainwright (R) P

Game 2 of the NLCS is scheduled for 4:08 PM EDT.

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).