Closer Brian Wilson, formerly of the San Francisco Giants, could return according to manager Bruce Bochy. ESPN’s Jim Bowden tweeted:
Bochy told us the Giants have not closed the door on Brian Wilson
Wilson managed only two innings last season before his season ended, requiring Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Though the Giants went on to win the World Series without him, Wilson was instrumental in the Giants’ championship 2010 season, posting a 1.81 ERA with a league-best 48 saves. He did not allow a single run in 11.2 innings during post-season play.
In Wilson’s absence last year, the Giants got 25 saves out of Santiago Casilla and 14 out of Sergio Romo. Casilla was relied upon in the ninth through July, but the Giants relied more and more on Romo as the season rolled into August. He was the go-to guy in the post-season and will be the closer for the 2013 season. If the Giants were to bring Wilson back, he would likely satisfy a middle relief role.
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.