The fact that Delmon Young’s health will have an impact on who will represent the American League in the World Series this year is one of those things that didn’t seem all that plausible back in July. Just one of the many reasons to love baseball. But it will have an impact, and given that he strained an oblique last night, it could be negative.
Right now, it’s still unclear if Young will play in the ALCS. When asked after the game last night he said “I don’t know.” Jim Leyland is unsure too. He’ll be re-evaluated today.
Young went 6 for 19 with three homers in the ALDS, including one in the first inning of last night’s game that proved critical. If he can’t go, Ryan Raburn will get the starts. Which, over the course of 162 games may not be a big deal. But Young is hot right now, so the injury is certainly not welcome.
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.