John Lackey to undergo Tommy John surgery, will miss 2012

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Well, at least this explains why he couldn’t get anyone out.

John Lackey traveled to California to have his elbow examined by Dr. Lewis Yocum and the Red Sox announced today that he’ll undergo Tommy John surgery, knocking him out for all of 2012 and perhaps part of 2013.

Lackey will earn $15.25 million while rehabbing next season and is also owed $15.25 million in both 2013 and 2014.

Undergoing elbow surgery also triggers a 2015 option in his contract for the MLB minimum salary, so the Red Sox just got themselves another year of Lackey and more importantly are now able to stretch his contract over another season to lessen their luxury tax figures.

The decision to sign Lackey to a five-year, $82.5 million contract was obviously one of Theo Epstein’s worst and in an amusing twist Epstein’s replacement as Red Sox general manager, Ben Cherington, made his first official act as GM announcing Lackey’s surgery decision.

Boston now has two clear openings in the rotation behind Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, and Clay Buchholz. And it turns out Lackey was pitching (horribly) through a torn elbow ligament while being ripped to shreds by the same fans and media members who constantly want everyone to play through injuries. Of course, it also turns out the Red Sox kept giving the ball to a guy with a torn elbow ligament for key September starts.

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.