Next up: Managers of the Year

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They’ll be announcing both AL and NL Manager of the Year today.  Let’s break it down scientifically:

One look at MLB.com’s rundown of the candidates shows you who’s gonna win this thing in the American League. It’s all Mike Scioscia, folks.  The reasoning kind of goes like this:  “Nice season, Ron Gardenhire. You showed great patience in coming back from so many games down so late in the season. How much harder it would have been to do that IF ONE OF YOUR STARTING PITCHERS WERE TRAGICALLY KILLED!”

Or:

“Way to turn traditional weaknesses into strengths, Ron Washington.  The fact that Texas had great pitching and played great defense and hung around that race so much longer than anyone expected is a testament to your leadership. How much harder it would have been to do that IF ONE OF YOUR STARTING PITCHERS WERE TRAGICALLY KILLED!”

You sorta see where this one is heading.  Lots of good jobs posted by AL Managers this year. Only one did a good job while leading his team through a potentially debilitating tragedy like the death of Nick Adenhart.  A manager doesn’t control nearly as many things as people think, but he does ensure that his team is mentally prepared to play each night, and Mike Scioscia did that in 2009, and he did it in tougher circumstances than the other guys.  It’s his award, and a it’s a well-deserved one.

The NL doesn’t have anything quite so dramatic, but almost as decisive as the “you win the award WHEN ONE OF YOUR STARTING PITCHERS IS TRAGICALLY KILLED” rule is the “you win the award when you took over for a guy who had the team floundering after 46 games and led the team on a red-hot tear the rest of the season” rule.

Let’s see, who fits that description this year? Oh, only Jim Tracy, and to expect anyone else to have a chance at it is pure folly.  Torre, La Russa and Cox can compete for the gold watch award next season. This season it’s the man who brought the Rockies back from the dead.

Awards will be announced at 1:30ish.

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

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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.