2016 Previews: The National League West in a nutshell

Associated Press
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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 National League West.

There’s a new ace in the desert and, not coincidentally, a shortage of arms behind Clayton Kershaw in Los Angeles. Will that allow the Snakes to steal the division from the Dodgers? And hey, it’s an even year, so you can’t count the Giants out, right?

Here are our N.L. West previews:

Los Angeles Dodgers Preview
San Francisco Giants Preview
Arizona Diamondbacks Preview
San Diego Padres Preview
Colorado Rockies Preview

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

toronto blue jays
Thomas Skrlj/Getty Images
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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.