Take it away Jimmy:
“They were the better team this series. Do I think we’re the better team? I really do. They just executed.”
Look, I wasn’t critical of Rollins’ prediction before the Series, because if I was the manager of a team I’d want my players to think they’re going to win. You don’t be cocky or disrespectful about it — and I don’t think Rollins was — but if someone asks you for a prediction, go ahead, say you’re going to win.
But after the fact? Whatever, Jimmy. We can argue all day long about who’s better on paper and whether winning a short series truly means you’re the “best” team and all of that (indeed, I’ve made that argument myself), but in this case Rollins has no leg to stand on:
The Yankees were a better team during the regular season.
The Yankees were the better team during the postseason.
The Yankees were the better team on paper.
The Yankees are the better team from a historical perspective.
Could the Phillies have won this series? Sure, anything can happen. Are they a good team? Absolutely. But if they had won it, it would have been an upset, and for anyone to say otherwise is pretty deluded.
No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.
On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.
Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.