The Mets are debating which catcher to keep around when Travis d’Arnaud returns to the major leagues on Tuesday after having spent the last two weeks with Triple-A Las Vegas. Neither Anthony Recker nor Taylor Teagarden have done much to help their own causes: Recker has a .557 OPS in 110 plate appearances on the season, and Teagarden has an even worse .450 mark in 30 plate appearances.
As Adam Rubin of ESPN New York notes, Recker still has an option remaining. On the other hand, Teagarden would have to pass through waivers before the Mets could assign him to Triple-A. Even then, Teagarden would have the option of rejecting the assignment and instead become a free agent.
d’Arnaud caught fire at the plate while in the minors. In 57 plate appearances with the Las Vegas 51’s, the 25-year-old slashed .453/.491/.943 with six home runs and 16 RBI.
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.