Two writers I met and hung out with at the Winter Meetings were Eno Sarris of FanGraphs and Rotoworld (and several other sites) and Amanda Rykoff of espnW. Both were cool people in person, and both have some sharp and funny observations about the behind-the-scenes aspects of the Winter Meetings today:
- Eno breaks down the dress code of the Winter Meetings. It’s shockingly accurate. All it’s missing is “bloggers from Ohio who didn’t bring a coat because they assumed it was warm in Orlando wore shirts under sweaters under corduroy blazers every day because they were freezing their kiesters off.”
- Amanda gives her general thoughts about her first-ever Winter Meetings, and more or less nails it. People often ask “what happens at the Winter Meetings?” The answer, as she makes clear, is not easy to grasp. You could walk right by them and not see a thing. But you quickly realize that there’s more than meets the eye.
Now, the only thing left to really close out the Winter Meetings is for me to seek out, find and destroy the video a certain MLB.com writer made of me singing before it hits the Internet. Because, um, it’s a total fake that really isn’t me. Or something.
And yes, I used this as another excuse to post the pic of the hotel in which the Meetings were held because I know Old Gator thinks it’s ugly.
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.