Carlos Quentin is back from the disabled list after missing the past three weeks with a shoulder injury, but he returns to a much more crowded White Sox lineup.
Quentin’s injury opened the door for 22-year-old rookie Dayan Viciedo, who’s hit .354 in 14 games since being called up. With the White Sox all but out of the playoff picture they seem unlikely to bench Viciedo and Alejandro De Aza isn’t sitting after batting .324 with a .930 OPS in 39 games.
That leaves Quentin to fight for playing time with Alex Rios, Adam Dunn, and Juan Pierre, with basically two open spots in the lineup for those four veterans. Two are left-handed hitters (Pierre, Dunn) and two are right-handed hitters (Rios, Quentin), so in theory manager Ozzie Guillen could form a pair of quasi-platoons. Or he could just bench Dunn and rotate the other three through two spots.
For today at least Quentin and Dunn are on the bench and Rios is at designated hitter.
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.