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Yankees need a win in ALCS Game 4

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The Houston Astros lead the ALCS two games to one, so it’s not literally a must-win game for the New York Yankees. But it sure feels like a virtual must-win game. For if they do not win they will not only be down 3-1 — and 3-1 holes are not easy to climb out of — but they will be facing three straight actual must-win games with no days off, which is not an ideal situation for a team that relies as heavily on its bullpen as they do. And that’s before you get into the stuff about one of the must-win games will be started by Justin Verlander and another one of those must-win games will be pitched by Gerrit Cole.

Houston Astros vs. New York Yankees
The Time: 8:08 PM Eastern
The Ballpark: Yankee Stadium, New York, NY
The Channel: FS1
The Starters: Zack Greinke vs. Masahiro Tanaka

The Upshot:

Last night’s rainout will, as noted, create some long term pressure for the Yankees should they push this series to the long term. In the short term, however, they get a bit of a boost in that now Game 1 starter Masahiro Tanaka can pitch on full rest for in a game that was originally scheduled to be a bullpen day. Tanaka tossed seven six one-hit shutout innings against the Astros in New York’s Game 1 victory, so with their back almost against the wall, he’s a nice one to have going for them.

For the Astros, Zack Greinke will also return to pitch Game 4 on full rest, replacing what was also supposed to be a bullpen game for Houston. While one might allow that getting Greinke back on full rest offsets the Yankees getting Tanaka back, Greinke hasn’t exactly been reliable this postseason. He allowed three runs and six hits, including two home runs, in the Astros Game 1 loss. Between that and his start against the Rays in the ALDS he has allowed nine earned runs in nine and two-thirds innings this postseason. He’s obviously capable of dominating a game, of course, but Tanaka has been outstanding so far in October and Greinke, well, not so much.

If I had to guess, I’d guess that the Yankees bats which have gone silent in the past two games will come back to life tonight against Greinke. They kinda have to, or else the Yankees will have their backs up against the wall.

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).