The HardballTalk audience is probably a little too manly for this next item, but we’re throwing it out there anyway.
Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez appeared on the L.A.-based Ryan Seacrest Show today and touched on a few things, like drilling Indians pitcher David Huff in the head last week, possibly being chosen as an All-Star this year in Anaheim, and something called a “power balance” bracelet.
Seacrest is an easy target for haters because he’s the host of American Idol, small in stature and still probably hangs with some of Los Angeles’ finest. But it’s hard to knock a guy that hosts both a weekday morning and weekend radio show, drives the bus on one of the nation’s most-watched television programs, and hosts some program called E! News. Here in the United States we tend to appreciate hard workers, and I’m not sure that guy sleeps.
A-Rod, meanwhile, is batting .293 with a .374 on-base percentage, seven home runs and 41 RBI through 50 games this season. He’s the subject of a whole lotta hate as well, but usually for far better reasons.
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.