Sports Illustrated crowns the Astros World Series champs . . . for 2017

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File this one away for three years from now:

 

Eh, it’s possible that it’s conservative. Not that I would pick the Astros to win it at all anytime soon, as picking such things is a sucker’s game. But if a team does put it together after a lot of futility, it often happens more quickly than you’d expect. The Rays came out of basically nowhere to win the 2008 pennant, for example. When things click, they tend to click fast or they don’t click at all.

Starling Marte carted off field after outfield collision

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Pirates center fielder Starling Marte was carted off the field during the eighth inning of Friday’s contest against the Giants. Marte was racing in to field a fly ball from Yangervis Solarte when he collided at full speed with shortstop Erik González. The two were knocked down by the impact and quickly attended to by the Pirates’ staff, who helped Marte sit up on a cart and removed him from the game.

The extent of either player’s injuries, if any, have yet to be revealed. Following the incident, both Marte and González were officially removed from the lineup, with JB Shuck shifting from left to center field, Jung Ho Kang moving over to shortstop, Colin Moran covering third base, and Jason Martin in the left field corner.

The Pirates currently lead the Giants 4-1 in the ninth.