LaRoche hasn't heard from Braves

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adam laroche.jpgAdam LaRoche batted .325/.401/.557
with 12 home runs, 40 RBI and a .957 OPS in 212 at-bats after being
scooped up from the Red Sox on July 31, playing a huge part in the
Braves’ late playoff run. Sure, we’re all accustomed to LaRoche’s
second-half surges — .909 OPS lifetime, as opposed to .773 before the
All-Star break — but his strong performance down the stretch hasn’t
given general manager Frank Wren
much of a sense of urgency to bring him back:



“No talk from ATL that I know of. Guess I should have hit .400 while I was there.”



Tough words by LaRoche. So, what’s
the deal? Well, for starters, LaRoche reportedly wants a three-year
contract worth more than $7.05 million annually. Also, the Braves have
2007 second-round pick Freddie Freeman shooting up their minor league
system. Freeman, 20, has a .294/.356/.452 line over his first two
professional seasons and was recently ranked as the team’s No. 2
prospect
by Baseball America. The sides may find a one-year compromise later, but there’s no reason to commit to an expensive mutli-year deal with a younger and far cheaper player on the rise.

Astros clinch postseason berth with 11-3 win over Angels

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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.