The Reds release Jeff Francis

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Jeff Francis was a spring NRI for the Reds, and has been toiling in Louisville all year.  Toiling fairly successfully, however, at least if you avoid the W-L record:  3-6 with a 3.72 ERA and 65 strikeouts to 18 walks in 77 innings.  He threw a shutout yesterday.  But now he’s just out, as the Reds released him.

It was at his request, however, as he had an opt-out provision dated June 1.  Given that there isn’t any room in the rotation for him in Cincinnati, and given that he just finished on a high note, one can’t blame him.  And you have to figure he’ll latch on someplace.

Brandon Crawford homers off brother-in-law Gerrit Cole

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You can’t pick your family and no one knows that better than Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford. His sister Amy married Astros starter Gerrit Cole in November 2016, so the two players are brothers-in-law.

The two players have matched up against each other 18 times in the past, as Cole spent his first five seasons in the National League with the Pirates. Cole often won that battle, holding Crawford to four hits — all singles — in 18 plate appearances.

Crawford finally got the better of Cole on Tuesday night, hitting a line drive into the appropriately-named Crawford Boxes at Minute Maid Park for a two-run home run, cutting the Astros’ lead to 5-2.