The first round of analysis arising out of the Milton Bradley trade has followed this general narrative: the Mariners fleeced the Cubs, dumping a truly useless player in Carlos Silva for a troubled but useful one in Bradley. And I think, generally speaking, it’s the right call. If everything breaks right, this could be a pretty nice deal for Seattle.
But all of that analysis seems to gloss over the Milton Bradley part of the deal with stuff like “assuming Bradley behaves himself,” and “with a change of scenery Bradley will likely . . .” After reading the fifth or sixth variation of that I can’t help but think that people are underselling just how many problems the guy has. Paul Sullivan of the Tribune has a nice little refresher, however, in the form of a list of the top 11 Bradley incidents from his short tenure in Chicago. It’s pretty impressive in and of itself, but it also speaks to personality that isn’t likely to magically transform based on a mere change of scenery.
I like Milton Bradley the player to a certain degree, and I think that, over the years, he has maybe gotten a little more bad press than he deserves. But Bradley’s reputation as a clubhouse cancer is not unjustified. The guy has issues, and no comparison of his potential OPS to Carlos Silva’s ERA against a backdrop of salary swapping truly captures it.
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.