The Blue Jays had yet another starter get hurt last night, with Henderson Alvarez leaving the game against Boston due to a sore elbow. He’s expected to avoid the DL, but the Jays already have three of his rotationmates there: Brandon Morrow (oblique), Kyle Drabek (elbow) and Drew Hutchinson (elbow).
Now comes word today that Nestor Molina, the top prospect the Jays parted with to get Sergio Santos (also injured) from the White Sox over the winter, has been placed on the DL at Double-A Birmingham with an elbow injury. His status is uncertain, but it wouldn’t surprise anyone if he misses a big chunk of the season.
FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi recently wrote a glowing article on the Blue Jays’ young arms, taking shots at Oakland’s 2002 “Moneyball draft” in the process. The Jays now employ more area scouts than any team in the league, and it might well be helping them identify talent other clubs have missed.
But the Jays have a great deal of their future tied up in young arms, which certainly creates the potential for heartbreak. They should know: they currently have six pitchers on the 60-day DL, and depending on how Alvarez’s elbow reacts this weekend, their next move might be to replace their 22-year-old right-hander with 49-year-old Jamie Moyer.
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.