As expected the Rangers have declined their 2013 options on right-handers Scott Feldman and Yoshinori Tateyama.
Run support and luck allowed Feldman to win 17 games in 2009 despite a 4.08 ERA and that got him a contract extension, but in three seasons since then he’s been ineffective and injured with a 5.15 ERA in 297 innings. Good beard, though. Texas chose a $600,000 buyout instead of a $9.25 million option.
Tateyama had a great strikeout-to-walk ratio in 44 innings as a 35-year-old rookie after coming over from Japan last season, but spent most of this season at Triple-A and coughed up 19 runs in 17 innings with the Rangers.
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.