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Astros clinch the AL West


The Astros clinched the AL West on Sunday afternoon with a 7-1 victory over the Mariners. It marks the Astros’ first division title since 2001 when they were in the NL Central. They will be back in the postseason for the first time since 2015.

Justin Verlander delivered another strong start, holding the Mariners to one run on three hits and a walk with 10 strikeouts over seven innings. He has given up a total of two runs and 10 hits in three starts since the Astros acquired him from the Tigers at the end of August.

On offense, Derek Fisher, Marwin Gonzalez, George Springer, and Carlos Correa each homered. Every regular in the lineup except Carlos Beltran had at least one hit.

The 91-58 Astros still have meaningful baseball left to play as they are battling the 92-57 Indians for the best record in the American League, which would earn them home field advantage in the playoffs.

Daniel Murphy will miss the start of the season

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Daniel Murphy said today that he will not be ready for Opening Day and will start the year on the disabled list.

Murphy had microfracture knee surgery last October. While he has been able to take batting practice and field ground balls, his lateral movement is still limited. In his absence — which is not expected to last past mid-April or so — Howie Kendrick will get the bulk of the playing time at second base.

Murphy hit .322/.384/.543, smacked 23 homers and knocked in 93 RBI in 2017.