NL has better record than AL in interleague play for first time since 2003

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Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs pointed out that, for the first time since 2003, the National League will best the American League interleague play this year. As of his writing on Monday, the NL had won 151 games and there are 300 interleague games scheduled per season, so win No. 151 clinched the better record.

The AL’s dominance over the NL has been well-known through the very unscientific use of All-Star game results. Presently, the AL has won each of the last six Midsummer Classics and had a 12-game winning streak from 1997-2009, excluding the 2002 tie. The NL will look to put that ignominious streak to an end next year when the All-Star Game and related festivities are held at Progressive Field in Cleveland.

Due to teams committing to rebuilding or just outright tanking, the AL is more lopsided record-wise than the NL this season. The AL has the 103-win Red Sox and the 95-win Astros who will also likely cross into triple-digit wins. But the AL also has the 106-loss Orioles and 99-loss Royals, who went a combined 11-26 in interleague play. Entering Wednesday, 10 of 15 NL teams were at .500 or above and only the Marlins and Padres crossed the 90-loss threshold (92 each).

Free agent slugger José Abreu signs 3-year, $58.5M deal with Astros

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HOUSTON — Jose Abreu and the World Series champion Astros agreed to a three-year, $58.5 million contract, adding another powerful bat to Houston’s lineup.

Abreu, the 2020 AL MVP, gets $19.5 million in each of the next three seasons.

He spent his first nine major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox. The first baseman became a free agent after batting .304 with 15 home runs, 75 RBIs and an .824 OPS this year.

With the Astros, he replaces Yuli Gurriel at first base in a batting order that also features All-Star sluggers Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker.

Gurriel became a free agent after Houston defeated the Philadelphia Phillies this month for its second World Series championship.

The 35-year-old Abreu becomes the biggest free agent to switch teams so far this offseason. Born in Cuba, the three-time All-Star and 2014 AL Rookie of the Year is a .292 career hitter in the majors with 243 homers, 863 RBIs and an .860 OPS.

The Astros announced the signing. Abreu was scheduled to be introduced in a news conference at Minute Maid Park.

He would get a $200,000 for winning an MVP award, $175,000 for finishing second in the voting, $150,000 for third, $125,000 for fourth and $100,000 for fifth. Abreu also would get $100,000 for earning World Series MVP and $75,000 for League Championship Series MVP, $75,000 for making the All-Star team and $75,000 for winning a Gold Glove or a Silver Slugger.

Abreu gets a hotel suite on road trips and the right to buy a luxury suite for all Astros home games.