Good luck with that trade, Mr. Francoeur

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I call him “Mr. Fancoeur” because it just sounded so fun in that Wall Street Journal article I linked to this morning. I know that WSJ and the New York Times use “Mr.” and “Ms.” as a convention, but the convention really doesn’t work in sports articles. Did they do this when pro wrestling was pushing mainstream in the mid 80s? “Mr. Beefcake?” Would it have been “Mr. Albano” or would they have gone with the more formal title for “Captain” Lou? I digress.

The point to this post is to link to Howard Megdal’s analysis of Jeff Francoeur’s chances of being traded, as he has so demanded.  Howard’s piece provides a wonderful walk down bad-to-mediocre corner outfielder memory lane, and concludes by noting that, if history is any guide, ain’t no one gonna trade nothing for no Jeff Francoeur.

But let’s be clear about something: I don’t fault Jeff Francoeur for asking to be traded. On some level all athletes should feel like they’re awesome and should be playing all the time. The second they stop feeling that way, at least a little bit, is the second they lose their competitive edge.  Good for Mr. Francoeur for not losing confidence in himself.

No, my issue is this whole media campaign and his agents demands of the Mets that her client be given playing time. That’s just loopy. Keep that stuff quiet.   

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.