Giants get lefty reliever Javier Lopez from Pirates for John Bowker and Joe Martinez

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Not exactly a blockbuster trade, but the Giants have added Javier Lopez to their bullpen as a left-handed specialist (or LOOGY).
Lopez has held lefties to a .243/.337/.351 mark in 282 career innings, but the same arm angle that makes him so effective versus lefties has led to righties knocking him around to the tune of .297/.380/.437.
He’s a useful enough bullpen addition for the stretch run, but I like the move for the Pirates because Bowker’s minor-league track record suggests he can still be a solid hitter even if he hasn’t shown it in the majors yet. Martinez doesn’t do much for me, but the Pirates should be able to get some decent middle relief or back-of-the-rotation work from him at least.

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.