Must-click link: Kevin Correia, coping with his brother’s death

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Last May, Padres starter Kevin Correia lost his 21-year-old brother in a hiking accident. As far as you and I were concerned, that meant he missed a few starts on the bereavement list and we likely didn’t think much else about it because that’s how these things go.  Obviously, however, this was Earth-shattering for Correia.

Today ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick has a story up about Kevin Correia’s struggles to come to grips with his brother’s death these past few months and how difficult such a thing is to do in the decided unnatural context of a baseball career.  It’s a must read, if for no other reason, than because of Correia’s comments about how he was not dedicating his season to his brother’s memory or scrawling his number on the bill of his cap because, really, what would be the point?  I’ve long had a problem with that kind of symbolism because I think, if anything, it causes us to disengage with our grief rather than confront it.  That may just me a quirk of mine.

Anyway, it’s a good, though occasionally painful read.

 

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.