The Reds won’t be getting Bill Bray back this year

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Bill Bray, Cincinnati’s talented but often injured left-handed reliever, is being shut down and sent home for the rest of the season.

“He’s still on the DL,” pitching coach Bryan Price told the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Fay. “He’s not going to be activated. He wasn’t going to pitch for us in September. He battled with a lot different stuff — his back, groin and knee. With the knee, he couldn’t run.”

Bray has pitched just 8 2/3 innings in between DL stints this year, walking 14 and allowing five runs. The Reds will probably non-tender him this winter rather than pay him another $1.5 million to be the third lefty in their pen next year.

A 2004 first-round pick of the Nationals, Bray has been with the Reds since mid-2006. He’s put in relatively full major league seasons just twice, but he was plenty good when he did. He had a 2.87 ERA in 63 appearances in 2008 and a 2.98 ERA in 48 1/3 innings last year.

Astros clinch postseason berth with 11-3 win over Angels

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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.