Just when it began to look like the Phillies wouldn’t have room for Chad Durbin in their bullpen or their payroll, there’s now a pretty good chance that he will return.
Peter Gammons of MLB Network alluded to the possibility earlier this afternoon and a source tells Todd Zolecki of MLB.com that returning to Philadelphia would be Durbin’s “first choice.”
According to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Durbin’s agent Dan Horwits is in talks with two other teams — presumably the Rangers and Rays, based on Gammons’ report — about a potential major league deal, but no offers have been made. If Durbin walks away from the talks empty handed, he may re-join the Phillies on a minor league deal. Gelb writes that Durbin is expected to make his choice in the next 48 hours.
All things being equal, Durbin would rather just return to the Phillies and attempt to win a spot in the bullpen as a non-roster player. And it’s hard to blame him there.
Durbin, 33, has compiled a 3.62 ERA over 226 innings in the past three seasons with the Phillies, including a 3.80 ERA and 63/27 K/BB ratio across 69 innings last year.
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.