The Cardinals were expecting Jaime Garcia to be in the mix for a rotation spot this spring after his injury-plagued 2013, but that’s not going to happen.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Garcia felt shoulder soreness following a recent bullpen session and is scheduled fly to St. Louis tomorrow for an MRI. It’s a troubling development, as he required surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder last May. Regardless of what doctors find, he’s considered unlikely to be ready for Opening Day.
While losing Garcia hurts, the Cardinals are well-equipped to deal with his absence. At this point, Lance Lynn is a pretty good bet for a rotation spot behind Adam Wainwright, Shelby Miller, and Michael Wacha, so that likely leaves Joe Kelly and Carlos Martinez competing for the fifth spot this spring.
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.