Quote of the Day: Justin Verlander would love free agency

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There was talk yesterday that Justin Verlander wants to stay a Detroit Tiger for life. I buy that. He has it pretty good there, is well-loved and every indication we’ve ever had suggests that the Tigers would be willing to pay the man what he’s due when he hits free agency following the 2014 season.

That said, he’s not afraid of free agency at all. Indeed, he sounds downright giddy at the prospect. From Jon Morosi’s story, here’s Verlander’s response when asked if he’s curious about hitting the market:

“Absolutely. I think that’d be a blast. If I have two more years like I just had, it would be pretty interesting … You know how competitive I am. It’s kind of fun thinking about having teams battle for you.”

This means very little with specific respect to where Justin Verlander will be playing after 2014. But so too do pronouncements about wanting to remain a Tiger for life, even if Tigers fans will read a lot into the latter.

It’s a business. Always has been, always will be.

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.