UPDATE: Buster Olney reports that there are “no legs” to this. Sorry to hear about your legs, Justin Masterson. But you can live a full healthy life without them, I’m sure.
9:16 AM: Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Yankees are interested in Justin Masterson. Which makes sense, as the Yankees can use starting pitching and Masterson is a good starting pitcher.
As Nightengale notes, though, the best trade chit New York has at the moment is Brett Gardner, and the Indians don’t need a center fielder with Michael Bourn hanging around, so a three-team trade might make sense. Certainly one to watch over the next day or two. We learned yesterday that it’s fun to watch three-team trades develop.
But to be honest, I’m not sure why New York would be considerably better off trading Gardner for Masterson when there are so many starting pitchers available on the open market right now that would cost them nothing but money. Especially considering that Masterson is in his walk year. A Bartolo Colon reunion would be a useful, short-term thing for the Yankees, no?
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.