As advertised, Hawk Harrelson showed up on MLB Network yesterday to take on Brian Kenny in a tete-a-derriere about sabermetrics and advanced analysis. I won’t ruin it for you, but know that Harrelson is not all anti-stats. He has his own metric — tWtW — The Will to Win, which he claims is more important than anything.
Which, fine, if that’s how he thinks baseball works. All I want is for him to put his money where his mouth is and ask players on a losing team why they don’t have The Will to Win. When they lost it, why they don’t acquire it and why the guys on the other team have more. If he’s willing to do that, great, I’ll shut up about Hawk for the rest of my days.
If not, I’m gonna assume that he’s full of crap and is using his experience in the game as an appeal to authority to make up for his apparent ignorance about what makes good baseball teams good.
Astros clinch postseason berth with 11-3 win over Angels
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.