Old Time Family Baseball’s annual Charity Blogathon is coming

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Last year I participated in my friend Michael Clair’s Charity Blogathon over at Old Time Family Baseball. I will be doing so again this year, and I hope you check it out and help Michael as he raises money for Doctors Without Borders.

The specifics: this Saturday, January 19th, Michael will be posting every half hour for 24 hours to support Doctors Without Borders. As he did last year, all of the posts will be freshly written (i.e. he won’t be pre-writing stuff and setting it to post later).  The fundraising page is here, and I’d humbly ask that you consider donating to what is an outrageously worthy cause. Every donation — even if it’s just a buck — enters you into a raffle for a number of baseball prizes including books, movies, baseball cards, video games and such. Some of the prizes can be seen here.

The next day — Sunday, January 20 — Michael will understandably rest. In his stead, he has asked multiple guest bloggers to write posts for him. I am one of  the guest bloggers, and at some point a post I wrote will go live over there. I’ll give you the heads up to it once it goes live. I think it’s pretty good.

So, if you’re willing and able, please consider helping Michael and Old Time Family Baseball help Doctors Without Borders. And even if you can’t do that, go read his posts during the blogathon. I bet they get good and loopy by hour 17 or 18.

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.