Pablo Sandoval is off his diet

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Remember how Pablo Sandoval was embarking on that uber-workout regimen and was gonna be all lean and mean next season? Yeah, well about that . . .

Pablo Sandoval has gained weight while playing in Venezuela, Sabean
acknowledged. “But not enough to worry about,” he sid. Sabean had a
long conversation with trainer Dave Groeschner yesterday. They have a
target weight for Sandoval — 250 pounds, so I hear — and Sandoval is
committed to being at that weight on opening day.

Color me dubious. 250 was the goal weight back when everyone was all optimistic at the dawn of Camp Panda. Now that he’s been on the Arepa Express for a couple of months, you’d have to figure that he’s gonna come in north of that.  Not that I can blame him. I love, love love a good arepa.

At any rate, now that Aubrey Huff is in town and penciled in as the first baseman, the Panda is going to have to stay spry as he stays at third base.  Good luck with that, Pablo.

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.