Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson kept his job despite a disappointing season, but general manager Kevin Towers dropped hints two weeks ago that the coaching staff might not be so lucky and sure enough Arizona has fired pitching coach Charles Nagy.
And according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic there may be more coaching changes on the way, perhaps as soon as later this week.
Nagy spent three seasons on the job, during which time the Diamondbacks ranked 9th, 9th, and 10th in ERA among NL teams. Those numbers aren’t as bad as they look because Arizona plays in a very hitter-friendly ballpark, but after back-to-back 81-81 seasons management felt someone had to go.
UPDATE: Another firing announced, as the Diamondbacks said goodbye to first base coach Steve Sax. Piecoro reports that the rest of the coaching staff–including Matt Williams, Alan Trammell, Don Baylor, and Turner Ward–has been asked back.
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.