The Washington Post’s Adam Kilgore has four pages of goodness on Bryce Harper today, and it’s pretty much a must-read. Among the topics Harper discusses are his fondness for D.C., how he would have majored in journalism had he gone to college and his intention to abstain from alcohol.
And he only referred to himself in the third person once.
A lot can change over the next seven years, but Harper seems authentic in his desire to stay with the Nationals:
“You look at Cal Ripken. You look at Derek Jeter. You look at all the greats that played for one team their whole career,” Harper said. “I want to be like that. I’ve always wanted to be like that. I’ve always wanted to play with that same team.”
And the article closes with a little dig at Harper’s former favorite team:
Before the Nationals played the Yankees in mid-June, Harper told his father, “I don’t want to be a Yankee. I want to beat them.”
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.