The latest teams to clinch playoff spots are the Cubs (who earned theirs when the Giants were eliminated with a loss last night) and Blue Jays (who won their spot with a win over the Rays and a Twins loss to the Tigers. For both teams, it’s been a long time coming. The Cubs haven’t been to the playoffs since 2008, when they fell in the NLDS to the Dodgers. The Jays, meanwhile, haven’t been to the playoffs since 1993, when Joe Carter walked off against the Phillies in the World Series. Here are more quick notes on playoff-bound teams.
- The Blue Jays are well positioned for a playoff run, John Lott of the National Post writes. The additions of David Price (via trade) and Marcus Stroman (via a return from injury) have given the Jays two front-line starting pitchers of a type they lacked early in the season.
- After 20 straight losing seasons, the Pirates are now playoff regulars, the Associated Press writes. After Bob Nutting took over as the face of Pirates ownership and Neal Huntington as their GM, the Bucs’ transformation started at the bottom. They spent heavily on the draft, reorganized their scouting department, and invested in their Latin American program. After the Pirates’ collapse in 2012, though, the team nearly decided to change course. “Everything was up for discussion, for review, for throwing us all out,” says Nutting. They Pirates kept their front office in place, and they’ve made the playoffs in three consecutive years since then.