Every spring we get an early “Believe it or not, Player X might make the team” story, with “Player X” being some veteran everyone has written off or a comeback story or a precocious rookie that everyone thinks needs more seasoning. At least as far as the veterans go, those stories rarely play out. A month and a half of spring training wears them down or reveals them to not have anything in the tank. Or maybe the writer was just too optimistic in the first place.
I kind of hope that doesn’t hold for Jason Isringhausen, who gets his obligatory “believe or not” story today. I kind of like the guy and I think the Mets would be more fun with him on them. Long odds, though, given his medical history. Gotta root for him anyway.
Oh, and if he does make the team, Jason Bay is going to give him his number 44. And he’s not going to demand the standard cash payment or Rolex or whatever. How decent.
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.