How much longer will Cubs keep Tyler Colvin up?

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I was wrong a year ago: I thought the Cubs made a mistake by keeping Tyler Colvin based on his strong spring. Given his lack of plate discipline, I figured he’d be back in the minors by May 1 and I had serious doubts that he’d ever make much of a contribution to the cause.

Colvin, though, made quite an impact as a rookie, collecting 20 homers and driving in 56 runs in 358 at-bats. He did strike out 100 times, but he worked 30 walks. He ended up with more homers, more walks and a higher OPS than he had in 459 at-bats between high-A and Double-A in 2009.

However, Colvin’s success didn’t cause the Cubs to make him a regular as a sophomore. He probably would have been penciled into right field if the team could have found a taker for Kosuke Fukudome’s contract, but that didn’t materialize, and the Cubs decided to sign Carlos Pena rather than turn Colvin into a first baseman.

As a result, the Cubs kept him as a fourth outfielder, figuring he’d get plenty of time in the corners if Alfonso Soriano and Fukudome continued to fail to live up to their contracts.

They probably didn’t anticipate Soriano leading the league in homers or Fukudome maintaining a .456 on-base percentage six weeks into the season. Colvin made 12 starts in April, most of them at Fukudome’s expense, but with his average south of .150, he’s hardly played at all since. He’s made just one start in May, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts against the Reds on Saturday.

The obvious move now is for the Cubs to demote Colvin, and it’s pretty surprising that they haven’t done so. Colvin is hitting just .115/.194/.262 with two homers in 61 at-bats. He hasn’t made an impact as a pinch-hitter, having gone 1-for-8. Since the Cubs have Jeff Baker and Reed Johnson to serve as backup outfielders, they’d be just fine there without him.

So, getting Colvin at least two or three weeks of regular at-bats in Triple-A looks like a no-brainer. It’s just odd that it hasn’t happened already.

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.