Has this always happened, or is it a new thing?
Braves’ President John Schuerholz and Giants managing partner Larry Baer have each written letters to the fans talking about how much of a bummer it was for the teams to miss the playoffs but, dadgummit, we’re gonna double our efforts and happiness is but a season away.
Actually, they’re not both technically apologies. Schuerholz’s sounds more like that and, as is clear from the personalized greeting, was sent via email to whoever had signed up to get Braves’ spam. Baer’s letter is more like a hybrid commiseration/introduction with a few bones thrown to the idea that 2011 was not fun. It’s in open letter form, posted at the Giants’ website.
I guess it’s a nice gesture. It’d be better if the Braves’ one contained pics of Fredi Gonzalez getting worked over by a couple of hired goons, but it’s nice enough. I just kind of wonder what the letter from the Astros or the Twins would look like.
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.