The Best: The home uniform has been fairly constant, ranging from a no-number-on-the-front version to a numbered version, and switching between pullover and button-up as trends have dictated. It looks good in all of those guises, but I think I prefer the button-up, numbered version — which has been in use for most of the past 25 years — the best. Just a nice, clean, sharp uniform.
The worst: I like their classic powder blues just fine, but they really screwed things up when they brought them back a couple of years ago. Tops only, a light blue cap, and using them at home? Booo! All blue, on the road or GTFO. And the dark blue jersey on the road is weak sauce too, though better than the current light blue usage, and better than a lot of teams that go with the solid tops on the road. The worst ever is less an aesthetic choice than a philosophical one: vests and black accents. What an unfortunate nod to cynical trends.
Assessment: the Royals of my youth were the class organization in the American League. I kind of hated them for that, but I always thought they looked good. In both inspiring such hatred and in looking good, they kind of sound like the Dodgers, no? Kind of look a lot like them too. There are worse looks to emulate. As long as they keep it nice and straight forward, they’ll always look good, even when they’re playing bad.
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.