* Things have gotten so bad for the Mets on the injury front
that Jose Reyes and trainer Ray Ramirez were rear-ended by a firetruck
yesterday while driving to the hospital for a check-up on the
shortstop’s strained calf. Seriously. No one was hurt, but the Mets’ season is starting to resemble the plot of those Final Destination movies.
* During a radio interview
this morning, Ryne Sandberg said that fellow Cubs great Sammy Sosa
shouldn’t join him in the Hall of Fame. Coincidentally, today is also the 25th anniversary of “The Sandberg Game.”
* Joe Mauer is on the cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated, which means that doofuses can focus on the silly “cover jinx” when his batting average inevitably falls below .400.
* Speaking of the Twins, general manager Bill Smith doesn’t seem to care that the bullpen has been an obvious weakness since the middle of last season.
* Alex Speier of WEEI.com wrote a lengthy and interesting behind-the-scenes look at the Red Sox’s draft.
With a 6-1 win over the Twins in Sunday’s season finale, the Royals clinched the best record in the American League, which nets them home field advantage in the ALDS and ALCS. The Royals stand at 95-67 while the Blue Jays, who lost on Sunday, finish at 93-69.
95-67 is the Royals’ best record since finishing 97-65 in 1980, when they lost the World Series to the Phillies. Their division title is their first since 1985.
In the ALDS, which starts on Thursday, the Royals will host the winner of the AL Wild Card game between the Astros and Yankees. They are looking to avenge last year’s World Series loss, in seven games, to the Giants. The Blue Jays will host the Rangers in the other ALDS series.
Both the Astros’ and the Yankees’ fates were decided before their own games had completed on Sunday. The Rangers defeated the Angels, which clinched a Wild Card spot for the Astros. Then the Astros dropped Sunday’s season finale to the Diamondbacks, which clinched the first AL Wild Card slot for the Yankees. The Yankees are on their way to a loss against the Orioles as of this writing, but that will not affect anything now.
The Astros were in a 3-3 tie with the Diamondbacks in the seventh inning, but reliever Chad Qualls served up a two-run home run to Paul Goldschmidt. That would prove to be the deciding factor in a 5-3 loss.
The Yankees are losing 7-4 to the Orioles behind a subpar start by Michael Pineda and a shaky performance by the bullpen.
The MLB postseason opens up with the Yankees hosting the Astros on Tuesday in the AL Wild Card game. The winner moves on to face the Royals in Kansas City in the ALDS.