Rays claim Rob Delaney off waivers from the Twins

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Today the Rays added another reliever to the mix for their rebuilt bullpen, claimining right-hander Rob Delaney off waivers from the Twins.

Minnesota designated Delaney for assignment earlier this week to make room on the 40-man roster for left-hander Dusty Hughes, who’s older and has a significantly less impressive minor-league track record, but did spend most of last season in Kansas City’s bullpen.

Delaney has pitched well in two seasons at Triple-A with a 130/38 K/BB ratio in 128 innings, but his ERA there is an unremarkable 4.65 thanks to serving up 17 long balls.  As a fly-ball pitcher with so-so raw stuff Delaney has little room for error and having only a cup of coffee in the majors at age 26 shows that the Twins viewed him skeptically.

However, he’s racked up lots of strikeouts with a repertoire headed by a low-90s fastball and has very good control with just 1.9 walks per nine innings. His upside is likely middle reliever and flopping is very possible, but he’s capable of being a solid contributor and he should get a legitimate opportunity in Tampa Bay.

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.