Jaime Garcia thriving as Cardinals' fifth starter

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Jaime Garcia claimed the Cardinals’ final rotation spot with a standout spring training and is 2-1 with a 1.04 ERA through four starts after shutting out the Braves for seven innings Wednesday.
Garcia struggled to consistently throw strikes in the minors after Tommy John surgery in 2008, but so far at least control hasn’t been an issue and the 23-year-old rookie’s raw stuff is good enough to miss bats and induce ground balls.
He’ll no doubt go through some rough patches eventually, but Garcia has No. 2 starter upside in a rotation that already boasted a pair of aces in Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright, not to mention a resurgent Brad Penny.

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.