The Phillies hire Juan Samuel to coach third base, move Perlozzo to first

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Wow, ever write a blog post and realize that you didn’t need much more than the headline.  Yep, that pretty much says it all: Juan Samuel will be the third base coach, Sam Perlozzo moves to first.

This pretty much negates everything I said about Samuel’s stolen base proficiency the other day, because it’s not too often that he’ll be talking a guy at third into snagging home.  More importantly, however, it may lessen the ire of a lot of Phillies fans who had grown unhappy with Perlozzo’s work sending and stopping runners.

It seems like every team’s fan base has some issue with their third base coach, and I don’t know that we’ve yet come up with a good way to determine, objectively, how good a job a third base coach really does (we do believe that they should send more runners).  However, Philly fans have complained about Perlozzo pretty steadily.  And that wonderful play in the NLCS in which Roy Oswalt ran right through Perlozzo’s stop sign to score was one of the more notable rebuke’s of a base coach’s authority in recent history. The pitcher, dude.  Even he trust you.

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.