Dodgers decline options on Casey Blake, Jon Garland

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The Dodgers moved quickly to erase some of their bad 2011 memories Tuesday, declining options on Casey Blake and Jon Garland and outrighting Eugenio Velez to Triple-A.

Blake’s option was worth $6 million, while Garland would have made $8 million.

Blake played in just 63 games in the final season of a three-year, $17.5 million deal and hit .252/.342/.371 with four homers and 26 RBI in 202 at-bats. His future in baseball is in doubt after neck surgery, and at age 38, he may not be able to land a starting job even if he recovers well.

Garland, who had made 32 starts in nine straight seasons, was limited to nine starts this year by a shoulder injury that required surgery in July. He was just 1-5 with a 4.33 ERA before going down, and his status for the beginning of next season is also in question.

Velez made history this year thanks a 46-AB hitless streak that is still ongoing. He’ll join Blake and Garland in free agency and likely catch on with another club on a minor league deal.

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.