ESPN the Magazine has joined in the increasingly common “let’s anonymously poll a hundred or two players and ask them who’s overrated” game. Except none of these things ever define what overrated means. Heck, I don’t know that anyone who talks about overrated/underrated knows what they really mean when they say that. Really, these kinds of polls are totally overrated.
Anyway, the players think that Bryce Harper is the most overrated. Which suggests to me that what most of these guys think of as “overrated” is really “overhyped” or “overreported.” I say this because I don’t get the sense that the general assessment of Harper’s skills are out of line with what he’s done thus far, especially at his young age. Also, they rate A-Rod as the third most overrated player, and who is rating A-Rod all that highly these days? It’s all about spilled ink, methinks, not what people actually think of them vis a vis their qualities as ballplayers.
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.