Matt Kemp is back playing center field and batting third for the Dodgers on Monday after taking a seat in Sunday’s loss to the Cubs. He’s been nursing a tight left hamstring.
Kemp did make an appearance Sunday to keep his consecutive games streak alive, flying out as a pinch-hitter. Tonight’s game will extend the streak to 393 games.
He talked about that on Sunday:
“The streak does mean something to me, to play every day, but still I don’t want to do something stupid to put my teammates in a situation where they lose me for one or two weeks,” he said. “It could be only one day and maybe this is the day and I can get back to play San Francisco. It feels weird watching the team play.”
Tony Gwynn Jr. went 0-for-3 in Kemp’s place Sunday as the Dodgers lost 4-3 to the Cubs.
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.