Good luck, rest of baseball: The Big Three could start 17 of 19 playoff games for Phillies

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I’ve already written plenty about how dangerous the Phillies will be in the postseason, including the fact that finishing with the league’s best record would allow them to rely exclusively on the stud trio of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels in the first round, but David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News takes things a step further.
Murphy broke down the potential playoff schedules and found that, if the Phillies secure the NL’s top record and homefield advantage, they would be able to start The Big Three in 17 of 19 playoff games, all without using anyone on short rest.
If pushed to the limit in all three series, the Phillies would end up with six starts apiece from their No. 1 and No. 2 starters, five starts from their No. 3 starter, and just two starts from their No. 4 starter.
Halladay (2.53), Oswalt (2.80), and Hamels (2.93) all have an ERA under three, the Phillies have shut out the opponent in almost 30 percent of their combined starts, and in 74 total games with The Big Three on the mound Philadelphia is 49-25 (.662), including 29-8 (.783) in the second half.
Good luck, rest of baseball. Don’t forget to pack a lunch.

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.