Nationals “have kicked the tires on” Matt Garza

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Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post has it:

The Nationals have kicked the tires on Cubs right-hander Matt Garza, one person familiar with the situation said. Talks between the teams have not progressed to the point of the Nationals offering the Cubs a formal proposal.

Garza is also thought to be drawing trade interest from the Orioles, Rangers, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Indians and Dodgers, so he is not going to be an easy (or inexpensive) get for the team that ultimately acquires him.

Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun reported Saturday that the Cubs wanted two of the Orioles’ top five prospects — infielder Jonathan Schoop and left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez — in exchange for Garza.

Garza has an excellent 3.45 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 52/18 K/BB ratio through his first 57 1/3 innings this season with Chicago. The 29-year-old is scheduled to hit the free agent market in November.

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.