Angels explain why they sent Mike Trout back to Double-A rather than Triple-A

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When the Angels optioned 19-year-old stud prospect Mike Trout to the minors earlier this week I wondered why they sent him back to Double-A, where he’d already dominated for 75 games, instead of Triple-A, where he’d yet to play.

Turns out, they want him to get playoff experience.

Mike Scioscia told Jordan Garretson of MLB.com that the level of competition isn’t much different between the two levels and the Triple-A team is below .500 while the Double-A team is in first place.

We really feel strongly that in a player’s development it’s important to experience the playoffs. In Mike’s case, he’s a guy that’s leading a team to the playoffs. There’s a comfort level there. He just needs to play.

It’ll be interesting to see if the Angels bring Trout back to the majors for a playoff run of their own, because even if his bat isn’t quite ready to thrive in the majors as a teenager his incredible speed and outfield defense would definitely come in handy.

Astros’ bullpen throws combined one-hitter for MLB-best 30th win

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The Astros’ bullpen did yeoman’s work in place of the injured Dallas Keuchel on Monday against the Tigers. Keuchel is temporarily sidelined with a pinched nerve in his neck.

Brad Peacock made the spot start, limiting the Tigers to one hit and two walks with eight strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings. Chris Devenski took over with one out in the fifth, finishing out that inning as well as the sixth and seventh, facing the minimum. Will Harris pitched a perfect eighth and Ken Giles closed out the 1-0 victory in the ninth. Devenski, Harris, and Giles each had two strikeouts.

The Astros scored their only run in the bottom of the first inning as George Springer drew a leadoff walk, then scored on Jose Altuve‘s one-out double. Tigers starter Brad Fulmer pitched well enough to win on most days, giving up the lone run in seven frames.

After Monday’s win, the Astros became the first team to reach 30 wins, sitting on a 30-15 record. With a +55 run differential, even their expected record matches up with their actual record.

Brandon Phillips hit his 200th career home run

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Braves second baseman Brandon Phillips became the 337th player in baseball history to hit 200 career home runs, driving a solo home run to left-center field during Monday night’s home game against the Pirates. Phillips is the 14th second baseman (who played a min. of 75 percent of his career games at the position) to rack up at least 200 career home runs.

Phillips, 35, entered Monday’s action batting .290/.345/.405 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 142 plate appearances. If he’s anything, he’s consistent, as he finished with an adjusted OPS between 90-99 (100 is average) every year between 2012-16 and it was sitting at 97 coming into Monday.