The Twins have suffered a lot of injuries this year. Columnist Jim Souhan suggests that the problem may be over-training:
Thus the modern ballplayer is bigger, faster, stronger, better-trained, and yet seemingly more fragile. Might many of these new-age injuries be the result of over-training?
Michael Cuddyer agrees with the over-training thing. In contrast, broadcaster Jack Morris seems to suggest that players are wimpy and that the iron men of the 1980s with whom he played never would have allowed their teammates so much DL time. We’ve heard this from others in Twins-land recently. Too bad Morris didn’t bark hard enough at Mark Fidrych when they were teammates in the late 70s. If The Bird would have been cajoled out of his apparent softness, those Tigers teams may have won more than the lone World Series. Missed opportunities.
I’m not sure what to make of the over-training argument because my experience with “training” begins and ends with me on my treadmill watching ballgames and X-files reruns while praying for the torture to end. I’m sure, though, that better diagnosis, greater prudence on the part of trainers and players when it comes to injuries — not to mention the need to use injuries as a scapegoat any team’s poor performance — has quite a bit to do with it too.
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.