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Game 3 lineups: With no DH, Howie Kendrick and Yordan Álvarez ride pine

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When the World Series moves to the National League park the National League team tends to have an advantage given the lack of the designated hitter. It’s not as big of an advantage as it used to be given that not as many teams in the American League have guys who are full-time DHs as there used to be, thus they may not always lose a big bat or be forced to compromise team defense to keep it in the lineup, but the NL teams are far more used to dealing with the whole deal.

The Astros have been a bit more traditional as far as that goes this year. Yordan Álvarez played in 87 games during his rookie campaign and he DH’d in 74 of them. There’s a reason for that: he’s not a very good outfielder. Certainly not as good as Josh Reddick or Michael Brantley. So, with Games 3, 4 and, potentially, 5 to be played in an NL Park, A.J. Hinch had a decision to make. Lose Álvarez’s bat or risk putting him in an outfield corner.

He has decided to leave Álvarez on the pine. Which, given that Álvarez has been pretty cold in the postseason, hitting just .213/.288/.277, I suppose it’s not that big of a loss.

Here’s the Astros lineup:

1. George Springer (R) CF
2. Jose Altuve (R) 2B
3. Michael Brantley (L) LF
4. Alex Bregman (R) 3B
5. Yuli Gurriel (R) 1B
6. Carlos Correa (R) SS
7. Josh Reddick (L) RF
8. Robinson Chirinos (R) C
9. Zack Greinke (R) P

For the Nationals, the decision was a bit easier. Yes, Howie Kendrick has a better bat than Asdrúbal Cabrera, but with a series lead, Cabrera’s superior glove at second base is preferable. And, for what it’s worth, manager Dave Martinez cited Cabrera’s superior numbers against Astros starter Zack Greinke:

1. Trea Turner (R) SS
2. Adam Eaton (L) RF
3. Anthony Rendon (R) 3B
4. Juan Soto (L) LF
5. Asdrúbal Cabrera (S) 2B
6. Ryan Zimmerman (R) 1B
7. Kurt Suzuki (R) C
8. Víctor Robles (R) CF
9. Aníbal Sánchez (R) P

Game time is 8:07 Eastern.

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).