Chris Getz returned from the disabled list last night and the Royals will also activate Jonathan Sanchez to make tonight’s start versus the Brewers.
Sanchez has been out since May 9 with biceps tendonitis and had a 6.75 ERA in six starts before being shut down. He also gave up 10 runs in 13 innings during a minor-league rehab assignment, so Brewers hitters should be licking their chops.
Getz reclaimed the starting second base job, which sent prospect Johnny Giavotella back to Triple-A after getting sporadic playing time from manager Ned Yost. Giavotella has yet to produce in 67 games as a big leaguer, although his .613 OPS is nearly identical to Getz’s career mark of .629.
Presumably at some point the Royals will simply give Giavotella an extended opportunity to show that his .336 batting average in 141 games at Triple-A makes him a long-term building block, but he’ll be 25 years old in a month and it hasn’t happened yet.
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.