Brandon McCarthy has turned his season around with the Yankees

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Brandon McCarthy for the Diamondbacks: 3-10 with a 5.01 ERA in 18 starts.

Brandon McCarthy for the Yankees: 4-0 with a 2.08 ERA in five starts.

When the Yankees got McCarthy from the Diamondbacks on July 6 in exchange for left-hander Vidal Nuno plenty of people thought he was a prime bounceback candidate because his secondary numbers and track record were much better than his bloated ERA. But no one expected him to turn things around this much.

McCarthy has allowed zero or one earned run in four of his five starts for the Yankees and he’s also thrown 101, 99, 109, 108, and 116 pitches for New York after topping 100 pitches just four times in 18 starts for Arizona.

McCarthy is someone a lot of baseball fans (myself included) root for because he’s very amusing to follow on Twitter, leading to this exchange with noted Red Sox fan and “Parks and Recreation”and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” creator Michael Schur:

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Astros clinch AL West for third consecutive year

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For the third consecutive season, the Astros are AL West champions. The ‘stros clinched the division on Sunday afternoon with a convincing 13-5 win over the Angels. They were backed by three homers from leadoff man George Springer and individual homers from Alex Bregman and Aledmys Díaz.

Springer has the 22nd three-homer game in baseball this season. He’s the first Astro to hit three homers in a game since Yordan Álvarez last month, on August 10.

Justin Verlander lasted five innings in Sunday’s start, yielding two runs on six hits and a pair of walks with five strikeouts. The right-hander is arguably the frontrunner for the AL Cy Young Award, now 20-6 with a 2.53 ERA and a 288/42 K/BB ratio in 217 innings on the year. Verlander is 12 strikeouts shy of the 300-strikeout milestone and six strikeouts short of 3,000 for his career. If the Astros stay on schedule, Verlander would pitch the second-to-last game of the regular season against the Angels.

Sunday’s win marked No. 102 on the season for the Astros. The franchise record is 103 wins set last year. With six games remaining, it seems likely the Astros will set a new record.

The Astros and Yankees both won on Sunday, meaning the Astros remain a half-game ahead in the race for home field advantage. The No. 1 seed will also have the privilege of playing the Wild Card winner, which is down to the Athletics, Rays, and Indians.