Red Sox's Dempster throws against the Blue Jays in the first inning of their American League MLB baseball game in Toronto

Ryan Dempster’s first post-suspension start is August 30


Ryan Dempster will return from his five-game suspension for throwing at Alex Rodriguez and start next Friday, the Red Sox announced.

Because the Red Sox have off days tomorrow and Monday the suspension didn’t really force them to juggle the rotation a whole lot. Without the suspension Dempster would have been in line to start Saturday against the Dodgers, but they can simply move up Jon Lester to take his place while also moving up Jake Peavy.

And because Dempster has a 4.77 ERA, including 27 runs allowed in 35 innings since the All-Star break, skipping him for one turn in the rotation isn’t such a bad thing for the Red Sox anyway.

As for Dempster, he basically gets a week of paid vacation and then will return to the mound on August 30 against a weak-hitting White Sox lineup at Fenway Park, where the Boston crowd will no doubt give him a big ovation. Helluva punishment.

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

Lorenzo Cain
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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
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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.