Not so long ago Dan Straily looked to be establishing himself as a long-term member of Oakland’s rotation, but after failing to make it out of the fifth inning in back-to-back start the A’s demoted him back to Triple-A.
Straily is 24 years old with a 1.79 ERA and 102/25 K/BB ratio in 85 innings at Triple-A, so he doesn’t have a whole lot more to prove in the Pacific Coast League at this point. He allowed just nine total homers in 28 starts between Double-A and Triple-A, but Straily is an extreme fly-ball pitcher and has served up 17 homers in 19 starts with the A’s.
All those homers have led to a 4.58 ERA as a big leaguer, but Straily has posted a solid 85/36 K/BB ratio in 106 innings while holding opponents to a .238 batting average. Expect him to be back in the A’s rotation soon enough.
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.