At present, the home team takes batting practice first followed by the visitors. Major League Baseball is considering changing that order, however.
The reason: if the home team takes BP second, perhaps more fans of the local nine will show up early to watch BP and will then buy beer and hot dogs and foam fingers and all of that jazz. As it is now, if you want to see the home team take BP, you have to kill a lot more time at the ballpark while the bad guys from another city take their hacks, and that might deter you from bothering.
As Joel Sherman notes in his story about it at the Post, there is a bit of hitch to the plan: it would require the visiting team to show up to the park even earlier than they already do, making for a longer day when they’re already away from home. One would think, however, that being able to show up later when you’re at home, giving players a bit more time with the wife and kids, would make up for it.
Who knows. Worth watching, though.
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.