A.J. Burnett had a 4.97 ERA in three seasons with the Yankees, so his biggest contribution may have been the tradition of hitting teammates in the face with shaving cream pies after they delivered walk-off hits.
Joe Girardi was asked which player was most likely to take over that role following Burnett’s trade to the Pirates and the manager named Nick Swisher, who predictably would be very happy to oblige.
Swisher told Bryan Hoch of MLB.com that Burnett “was a good buddy of mine” and “a good buddy of all the guys in here” before explaining that “we’re going to have to keep something going, man, because people in New York want pie! You know, let’s just keep it going.”
That has to be the most Nick Swisher quote in the history of Nick Swisher quotes, although his “can you pie yourself?” question in response to Hoch asking what would happen if he’s the one who delivers the walk-off hit is up there on the list too.
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.