Roberto Clemente Award nominees announced. But why do we get a vote?

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Unlike the MVPs and other post season awards, no one ever talks smack about the Roberto Clemente award winner as being undeserving. That’s because it goes to the Major Leaguer who “best
exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement
and the individual’s contribution to his team,” and even the worst snark can’t cut through something that positive.

Anyway, the nominees were announced about an hour ago. Each team gets one nominee. The weird part: you can vote on it.  I’m not sure how the vast majority of us can ascertain the community involvement of most if any of these guys — quick! Was Geoff Blum or Craig Breslow a bigger asset to his community this year? — but voting makes everything better. The All-Star Game told me so.

OK, I guess you can mock the Clemente Award a little bit. Or at least the process of selecting it.

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.