With the Toronto Blue Jays beating the Baltimore Orioles last night and the Seattle Mariners dropping their contest against the Tigers, one thing is for certain this weekend: playoff baseball is returning to Toronto.
After missing out on the playoffs last year, falling just one win short of forcing a playoff tiebreaker, the Blue Jays return to the postseason after a brief foray back in 2020 where they were swept in the AL Wild Card at the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.
The playoff stint was brief but encouraging given the rebuild and emerging young core after a delayed start to the year, and with last season now in the rearview mirror, the Blue Jays return to the playoffs and will be playing meaningful October baseball on home soil for the first time since 2016.
The Jays are lined up to either face the Rays or the Mariners depending on how these last two days’ shake-up. Tampa can still pass Seattle if the Mariners struggle to beat the Tigers over the next two days but they do have the advantage of an additional game to play (although in the form of a doubleheader today). There are pros and cons that go either way for facing the Mariners or Rays but the main thing is that the Jays will start the postseason at home in front of a raucous home crowd.
The benefit of clinching home-field advantage before the end of the regular season is the Jays can now rest and set their lineup accordingly before the playoffs roll around. In doing so, manager John Schneider will hopefully have a rested crew ready to go for the weekend Wild Card series.
Blue Jays Remaining Schedule
This likely means that Alek Manoah won’t start tomorrow and be pushed to start Game 1 this Friday on extended rest while some of the starters in the lineup will likely sit against Baltimore over the next two days. This bodes well especially since the upcoming days are supposed to be very rain-heavy, and with the risk of players getting hurt in meaningless games, it would be easier to sit some regulars and let some bench players get tuned up prior to the postseason.
Overall, this was one of the best case scenarios for the Blue Jays starting the postseason (other than winning the AL East). They start the postseason at home, they might avoid playing at Tropicana Field altogether, and potentially could miss the Yankees if they fall in the ALDS. The only downside is that if the Jays make it out of the Wild Card they will face the top team in the American League, the Houston Astros, who will be well-rested and ready to go.
With the season just days from being over, it’s time for playoff baseball, back under the dome just North of the border.