More shoulder problems for Mat Gamel

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Mat Gamel exited yesterday’s game with a sore right shoulder, which is the same injury that caused him to sit out the Brewers’ first three spring training games last week.
He suffered the initial injury while taking batting practice last Thursday, but was also sidelined by a right shoulder impingement last spring. Gamel insists that his current shoulder problem is unrelated to the issues he had almost exactly one year ago, but as manager Ken Macha put it: “We have to get this nipped in the bud.”
Between his defensive shortcomings and Casey McGehee’s emergence as a rookie last season Gamel seemed unlikely to make the Opening Day roster to begin with, so the injury just makes those odds even longer. Unless it turns out to be something serious, of course.
Gamel has proven MLB-ready offensively, holding his own in 148 plate appearances with the Brewers after posting an OPS above .800 at every level in the minors, but Prince Fielder blocks his path at first base and the 24-year-old former top prospect will need to either improve his glove or have McGehee falter to take over at third base.

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.