Author: Drew Silva

Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista
AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Blue Jays clinch first AL East title since 1993


Congratulations to the Blue Jays, who just wrapped up the American League East with a 15-2 rout of the Orioles in the first half of a doubleheader Wednesday afternoon at Camden Yards. The lineup for the night game should be a laugher.

Edwin Encarnacion cranked his 37th home run of the season, Jose Bautista slugged his 40th, and Marcus Stroman fired eight innings of one-run ball as the Jays rolled right over the O’s in the makeup game following Tuesday night’s rainout. Stroman, believed to be done for the year when he tore his ACL in March, now boasts a 1.67 ERA in 27 innings (four starts) since making his 2015 debut on September 12 against the Yankees.

This is the first American League East championship for the Blue Jays since 1993, and it will also be their first trip to the playoffs since that 1993 campaign.

Toronto is in position to carry homefield advantage throughout the postseason.

A remarkable turnaround for a club that was 50-51 on July 28.

Felix Hernandez has been shut down

Felix Hernandez
AP Photo/LM Otero
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Mariners ace Felix Hernandez made an early exit from a start 10 days ago against the Rangers after experiencing stiffness in his right elbow. He had decent outing this past Saturday in Anaheim, holding the Angels to two runs on eight hits over six innings, but the M’s won’t push him for one more turn.

Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that King Felix has been shut down for the remainder of the 2015 season. Seattle figures to use a group of relievers in his place Saturday in Anaheim.

Hernandez will finish 2015 with a 3.53 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 191/58 K/BB ratio in 201 2/3 innings.

That’s a relatively disappointing season stat line for the 29-year-old perennial Cy Young Award contender.

Steven Matz still stiff, won’t start Thursday either

Steven Matz
AP Photo/Carlos Osorio
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Mets left-hander Steven Matz was scratched from his scheduled start Wednesday against the Phillies after waking up Tuesday with stiffness in the right side of his back. There had been optimism that he could go Thursday, but the stiffness remains.

“It’s still lingering a little bit, so we’re just going to take it day by day,” Matz told Adam Rubin of ESPN New York on Wednesday afternoon. “We’re not going to push anything. It’s just a little stiffness in my back. When you wake up with a crick in your neck, it’s kind of like that, just in my upper back.”

If this lingers into the weekend and Matz isn’t able to make another regular-season appearance, it would create a tough decision for team management. Put him on the roster for the NLDS and risk having to scratch him from a crucial Game 4 start? Or put Bartolo Colon in that role?

Matz, 24, owns a 2.27 ERA and 34 strikeouts over his first 35 2/3 major league innings.

Dodgers clinch NL West behind Kershaw gem

Clayton Kershaw
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

Now that’s how you clinch a division title.

And oust your biggest rival.

Clayton Kershaw allowed just a hit and a walk over nine shutout innings and an unlikely trio of Enrique Hernandez, Justin Ruggiano, and A.J. Ellis all homered as the Dodgers dominated the Giants 8-0 on Tuesday night in San Francisco to clinch the 2015 National League West championship. The loss for the Giants means they’re officially done.

It’s the third straight division crown for the Dodgers, who will get the Mets in the best-of-five NLDS.

Kershaw vs. Jacob deGrom in Game 1 next Friday night.

Let’s do this.