2016 Previews: The American League Central in a nutshell

8 Comments

For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2016 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central.

The Royals Reign all of baseball, but will they still reign in their own division? The Indians are going to test those theories about pitching winning championships. Can the Twins be this year’s Astros or Cubs? Do the Tigers have anything left in the tank? How will the White Sox ever recover from the loss of their leader, Drake LaRoche?

These questions and more are answered in our 2016 AL Central previews:

Kansas City Royals Preview
Cleveland Indians Preview
Minnesota Twins Preview
Detroit Tigers Preview
Chicago White Sox Preview

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

toronto blue jays
Thomas Skrlj/Getty Images
1 Comment

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.