The Yankees want to extend Joe Girardi’s contract

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Joe Girardi gets a vote of confidence and then some from Brian Cashman. Via ESPN New York:

“We’d like to have Joe Girardi back … We have a great interest in keeping him, and hopefully Joe will be here. … I think there’s really no reason to believe Joe won’t be here.”

That’s not even a dreaded vote of confidence. That’s a rare-for-New York expression of a desire to do an extension many months before said extension is necessary.

And I think it’s the right call. It’s not Joe Girardi’s fault all of the stars the Yankees were supposed to feature this year have been hurt. It is much to his credit that the Yankees have been as competitive as they have been thus far without those stars.

More importantly: Girardi, unlike just about any Yankees manager in living memory, keeps things on an even keel. There is always drama in New York, of course, but way, way more of it is outside of the clubhouse than in these days. It’s in the front office and in the imaginations of the media quite often, but rarely do you hear of players having issues with Girardi or vice-versa. Either he’s well-liked or he manages to defuse things discreetly, either of which is a valuable tool to have when managing in New York.

I see no reason why the Yankees would want to consider going with someone else at all.

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.