Link-O-Rama: Sizemore hoping to return tomorrow

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* Grady Sizemore is hoping to come off the disabled list
tomorrow after choosing to skip a minor-league rehab assignment for his
injured left elbow. “My elbow feels good,” Sizemore said. “I haven’t
had any setbacks, but we’re only going to find out how it really is by
playing every day.”

* Thanks to Albert Pujols’ latest heroics, yesterday Tony La Russa became just the third manager in baseball history with 2,500 wins.

* Ryan Zimmerman went hitless
in 15 at-bats over the weekend and is now batting just .221/.329/.359
in 161 plate appearances since his 30-game hitting streak was snapped in mid-May.

* According to Torii Hunter, Matt Kemp has the potential to become a great defensive center fielder. According to Ultimate Zone Rating, Kemp is already a better defender than Hunter … and just about everyone else.

* Joe Morgan’s mind is still playing tricks on him.

Royals clinch home field advantage, best record in the American League

Lorenzo Cain
AP Photo
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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.

Yankees to host AL Wild Card Game after Astros lose to D’Backs

Jacoby Ellsbury, Tony Pena
AP Photo
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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.