Chase Utley holding press conference to reportedly announce retirement at season’s end

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The Los Angeles Dodgers announced that second baseman Chase Utley will be holding a press conference on Friday afternoon at Dodger Stadium. The topic of the press conference has not been made public, but Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports is reporting that Chase Utley will announce his retirement at the end of the season.

Utley has made only 130 plate appearances this year, in part because he missed time on the disabled list with a sprained thumb. When he has played, he has not been effective, hitting .231/.313/.331 with only one homer and ten extra base hits in total.

Utley, 39, has played in the majors for 16 seasons and, for the most part, they have been amazing seasons. He’s a career .276/.358/.466 hitter who has made six All-Star appearances and has played in the World Series three times. He was the unquestioned clubhouse leader of the excellent Philadelphia Phillies teams for which he played in his prime and, even as a role player with the Dodgers, he has been spoken of as an uncommonly respected and influential veteran presence. There was talk this past offseason of him possibly taking a coaching job back in Philly, but the Dodgers signed him again anyway, in large part for the leadership he provides.

We’ll update later if this is, indeed, the end of Utley’s playing career and will provide a retrospective of one of the best second basemen in modern baseball memory.

Astros clinch postseason berth with 11-3 win over Angels

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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.