Happy Thanksgiving HBT Nation/Universe

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Thanksgiving may be the most unbaseball holiday.

It’s far enough removed from last season to where the taste has left our mouths, still too far from the next season for our appetites to be rewarded. It’s usually cold, often gray. Someone always has a football game on.

It’s probably still my favorite holiday, though.  Yes, there’s a lot of karma to it. The amount of attention paid to food in a world that wants is troubling if you think about it. Then I got Old Gator sending me emails telling me to have a Happy Native American Memorial Day. But forget him, I like stuffing.  And of course pie.

The thought behind Thanksgiving — or at least the thought I think we’re supposed to have — is what I like the most. It’s become a bit of a cliche for people to say what they “give thanks” for, making lists and all of that, but in a year full of holidays that celebrate either materialism or an unsettlingly-imposed orthodoxy of sentiment, there’s a simple warmth to it.

I’m thankful for all of you people coming by the blog every day. It keeps Aaron, Drew, D.J., Matthew and me off the streets, of course. But it’s also a validation that our weird obsessions aren’t too terribly singular.  It’s nice to share a virtual conversation with all of you people every day.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

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.