Athletics name Brandon McCarthy their fifth starter

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The A’s have set their season-opening starting rotation and former top prospect Brandon McCarthy is going to get a shot.

From Joe Stiglich of the San Jose Mercury News comes word that the Athletics have made McCarty their No. 5 starter over the younger and arguably more talented Tyson Ross.

McCarthy, 27, did not make a start in the major leagues last year due to a stress fracture in his right shoulder blade, but he has struck out 20 batters and issued only one walk across 26 stellar Cactus League innings this spring.

“He’s got some previous experience and had a great spring,” Oakland manager Bob Geren said Saturday. “It wasn’t an easy decision, and I’m happy it wasn’t. That means guys are throwing the ball well.”

Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, Gio Gonzalez and Dallas Braden will fill out the top of an impressive Oakland rotation. With that spacious ballpark and with these talented arms, the A’s are primed for a breakout.

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.