Japanese schoolgirl pitcher Eri Yoshida* — fresh off her tutoring session with The Knuckle Knuckle King — has signed with the Chico Outlaws of the independent Golden Baseball League.
Yoshida will be the first woman to play professional baseball in the U.S. since Ila Borders played in the Northern League and Western Baseball League in the late 90s. She will be the first professional baseball player to throw like a girl since Johnny Damon hit the showers after yesterday’s Tigers-Royals game.
*We are obligated to refer to Yoshida as “Japanese schoolgirl” because there are a lot of people who Google that term for some reason. And if you’re worried that such search engine hi-jinks are going to bring in too many perverts to this site, please know, approximately 83% of hardcore baseball fans already fall into the coveted 18-34 year-old pervert demographic.
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.