Minnesota traded Jim Thome last night and he’ll be in Cleveland’s lineup tonight, but that won’t stop the Twins from going through with their planned Thome “wind-up walker” giveaway.
The first 10,000 fans through the turnstiles at Target Field tonight will receive the toy pictured to the right and the fact that the Twins had the giveaway scheduled for August 26 shows that being out of contention and trading the future Hall of Famer wasn’t even a possibility in their collective mind coming into the season.
It was probably nice enough for the Twins to trade Thome to the Indians for a player to be named later expected to be a marginal prospect, but maybe they could have worked out a side deal for the 10,000 wind-up walkers too. All it takes for the toy to be wearing an Indians hat and uniform is a few interns and some paint. For the sake of accuracy it could use some stir-ups anyway.
(Dap to Michael Rand of the Minneapolis Star Tribune for the photo.)
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.