Red hot Twins go into Chicago and sweep the White Sox out of the playoff picture

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Needing to sweep the Twins to have a legitimate shot at the playoffs the White Sox instead lost all three games in Chicago, ending the AL Central race.
With a nine-game lead in the division and a “magic number” of eight games the Twins could conceivably fail to win any of their final 16 games and still claim the AL Central crown if the White Sox go 8-8 or worse. In other words, it’s over.
Going into Chicago and taking all three games from a team clinging to their playoff lives continues the Twins’ recent dominance over the White Sox. They’ve won 11 of the last 13 matchups at U.S. Cellular Field and are 31-13 against the White Sox since the middle of 2008, including a 13-5 record head-to-head this season that all but accounts for the nine-game gap in the standings.
Twins-White Sox has become perhaps the most lopsided rivalry in baseball and some time next week Minnesota will claim its sixth AL Central title in nine seasons under Ron Gardenhire. Remarkably, since losing Justin Morneau and his 1.055 OPS just before the All-Star break the Twins are an MLB-best 43-19 and are now very much in the mix with the Rays and Yankees for homefield advantage.

Dave Dombrowski gives John Farrell a vote of confidence

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Earlier, we learned via Tuesday’s report from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that Red Sox manager John Farrell could find himself on the hot seat given the team’s slow start and a couple of incidents with Dustin Pedroia and Drew Pomeranz.

Tim Britton of the Providence Journal spoke to Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, who gave Farrell a vote of confidence. Dombrowski said, “We all have our pluses and minuses. But when I see some of the things we’ve talked about, I don’t know how you say that’s John Farrell’s fault. It’s not his fault that we’ve scuffled to pitch in the fifth spot with [Kyle] Kendrick and [Hector] Velazquez. The injury factors. Really in many ways, I tip my hat to our guys, led by John, that we’re in the position that we’re in right now. We’re three and a half out on May 24. There’s a long time to go. We haven’t gotten buried.”

Dombrowski added, “He’s our manager. He’s done fine. If I didn’t think that, then he wouldn’t be in his role.”

Farrell is signed through 2018 as the Red Sox exercised his ’18 option in December. That doesn’t mean the Red Sox can’t let him go, but given the lack of realistic options to step in and fill Farrell’s shoes and Dombrowski’s vote of confidence, it looks like the skipper has job security for now.

Jacoby Ellsbury diagnosed with concussion, neck sprain after leaving game

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The Yankees announced that Jacoby Ellsbury left the game with a concussion and a neck sprain after making a great catch, crashing into the center field wall at Yankee Stadium to snag an Alcides Escobar fly ball for the first out of the first inning Wednesday night against the Royals.

Ellsbury was shaken up after the play, requiring the attention of manager Joe Girardi and trainer Steve Donohue.

Ellsbury initially stayed in the game and finished the top of the first inning. However, Aaron Hicks replaced Ellsbury in center field to start the top of the second inning. Ellsbury was batting sixth and did not have an at-bat prior to exiting.