This is not terribly unexpected, but Jon Paul Morosi reports that the union expected to file a grievance on behalf of Carlos Zambrano by the end of the day today in response to the Cubs placing him on the restricted list.
We all have our opinion about Zambrano — and I bet that most of us think that he’s out of line and wouldn’t put up with his crap for ten minutes if we didn’t have to — but before you jump on the union here, understand that it is their job to be an advocate for the player, not a judge. Just as a guy who mows down a street fair in a Buick while hepped up on goofballs is entitled to a defense, so too is a player when he runs afoul of his team, no matter what we think of him.
And, setting aside Zambrano’s history and his obvious flair for the dramatic, it’s not crazy to think that a month-long suspension — which amounts to a multi-million dollar fine in his case — is excessive punishment for what amounts to a two-hour temper tantrum at the outside.
My guess is that it’s all negotiated down to some sort of shorter suspension and, like has happened so many times in the past, Zambrano is back with the team soon, talking about how he’s readjusting his attitude and all of that.
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.