Cardinals to be honored by President Barack Obama at the White House next week

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To celebrate their World Series title the Cardinals are scheduled to be honored by President Barack Obama at the White House on January 17.

Albert Pujols is not expected to be part of the visit and according to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch the Cardinals may also head to Washington without their former manager, as Tony La Russa “may have a scheduling conflict due to a family matter.”

But fear not: Arthur Rhodes has RSVP’d yes despite being a free agent unlikely to re-sign with the Cardinals. And if Rhodes gets some face time with the president I suggest “did you know we were both born in the sixties?” as a good icebreaker.

In addition to the White House visit the Cardinals are slated to spend time with soldiers at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

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.