Kuroda a possibility for the NLCS

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Seeing how badly I whiffed when I tried to handicap the Dodgers-Cardinals series last week, particularly when it came to my assessment of the Dodgers’ rotation, I think I’m going to get out out of the prognostication business and merely pass along information about that kind of thing and let history take its course.  Things like this:

Manager Joe Torre said Hiroki Kuroda could join the
Dodgers’ playoff roster and start against the Philadelphia Phillies
depending on how he feels today after pitching a simulated game Tuesday
in Peoria, Ariz.

Sidelined for the division series because of a
bulging disk in his neck, Kuroda completed five innings in 49 pitches
while facing minor leaguers before throwing an additional 21 pitches in
the bullpen. He reported no complaints about his neck.

That simulated game was actually yesterday, and according to True Blue L.A., he threw 75 pitches, over which Joe Torre said he had “surprisingly good” command.

Given his solid start against the Cardinals, Vicente Padilla has to be a definite, as does Kershaw and Wolf. Assuming, as is likely, that Kuroda can go, that would presumably mean that Chad Billingsley would slide to the pen and Jon Garland would be off the NLCS roster entirely.

In light of Padilla’s emergence and the return of Kuroda, a rotation that looked to be a weakness in the NLDS — at least to morons like me — now shapes up to be a strength against the Phillies.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

toronto blue jays
Thomas Skrlj/Getty Images
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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.