A profile of Davey Johnson in today’s Baltimore Sun. Gotta love Davey, so it’s definitely worth a read.
Johnson, as you probably know, is now a special assistant to Nats’ GM Mike Rizzo. And unlike so many special assistant jobs out there, his isn’t about glad-handing season ticket holders and stuff — he’s actually contributing substantively. I can’t seem to find it right now, but a few weeks ago it was reported that Johnson is Ian Desmond’s primary champion in NatsLand, and has made it clear to everyone that the kid is too valuable to be used as a super-ute, which is what some have suggested. Whether he has the kind of juice to get Desmond made a starter is an open question, but it’s good that someone has the kid’s back.
I’d be curious to know what kind of input, if any, Johnson had on the Elijah Dukes release. Johnson is no stranger to, how shall I put it, challenging players, so you might expect that if anyone was going to defend the head case it would be him. Then again, maybe Johnson was a primary driver: “Dudes! I know head cases, and this guy is beyond the pale. 86-him!”
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.