What better way to close out the work week than with MLB’s end-of-the-afternoon steroid suspensions.
Today’s unlucky losers were both playing in the Dominican Summer League. Angels outfielder Angel Montilla was busted for Nandrolone, while White Sox right-hander Pedro Rodriguez got nabbed for Stanozolol.
Montilla, 20, was hitting .234/.321/.248 with 16 steals in 145 at-bats in his third year in the DSL. Rodriguez, 22, had allowed seven runs — three earned — in six innings. He was also in his third year in the league. Given their ages, both players may well have been on their way to getting released at season’s end even if not for the positive tests.
The Red Sox have clinched the AL East for a third consecutive season, beating the Yankees 11-6 in the Bronx on Thursday night. It’s the third consecutive season in which the Red Sox have won the division, the first time that’s ever been done in club history. In fact, the only other times the Red Sox won the division in back-to-back years were 1903-04 and 1915-16.
AL MVP candidate Mookie Betts went 4-for-5 with a two-run single in the second inning off of Masahiro Tanaka and a three-run homer in the eighth against Aroldis Chapman to put the game out of reach. Jackie Bradley and Brock Holt also hit homers. Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez was on the hook for five runs in 3 2/3 innings, but three of them scored when Heath Hembree inherited a bases-loaded situation, then served up a grand slam to Giancarlo Stanton in the fourth. The rest of the bullpen combined to fire five scoreless innings. Steven Wright had three of them followed by zeroes from Ryan Brasier and Craig Kimbrel.
With the loss, the Yankees’ lead over the Athletics for the first Wild Card slot shrinks to 1.5 games. Meanwhile, the Red Sox will try to clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs. With a 104-49 record, their closest competitor is the 95-57 Astros. With nine games remaining in the regular season for the Red Sox, they would have to lose every game remaining in the regular season and the Astros would have to win their 10 remaining games in order to fail to claim home field advantage.