The Toronto Blue Jays are heading back to the postseason for a second-straight year with the Seattle Mariners losing to the Texas Rangers on Saturday evening.
The Blue Jays entered the day with their ‘magic number’ being one, whether that came in the form of a win against the Tampa Bay Rays or the Mariners losing to the Rangers. The Jays were unable to get the job done in extra innings in Toronto but Texas was able to get the upper hand on the West Coast early, getting starter Luis Castillo out early and eventually beating the Mariners 6-1.
With that Rangers win, the Jays secured one of the two remaining Wild Card spots while Texas eliminated their division rivals from postseason contention with the Astros beating the Diamondbacks as well, securing their own spot and sending the Mariners to the offseason early.
The Toronto Blue Jays advance to the postseason
The Rangers currently occupy the top spot in the AL West, while the Astros sit in the third Wild Card spot after each team picked up a win last night.
Should the Astros win on Sunday and the Rangers lose, Houston will win the division (they hold the tiebreaker) and Texas will bump Toronto to the third Wild Card spot as they hold their own tiebreaker advantage over the Jays.
If the Astros and Rangers win and the Blue Jays lose their game, Toronto will be bumped to the third spot as the Astros will finish with one win over their AL East counterpart.
Otherwise, everything will stay status quo should the Astros lose their last game of the season, as they are one win behind the Rangers and need to tie and the Jays hold the tiebreaker over them.
Whoever finishes second will head to Florida to take on the Rays at Tropicana Field while third place will head to Minneapolis to take on the Twins in the three-game series slated to start on Tuesday.
Jays lose but still secure a postseason spot
It was a disappointing outcome for the Jays after they dropped a close game to the Rays but there are numerous benefits to knowing the club has a postseason spot secured heading into Sunday afternoon.
For starters, the Jays will not need to turn to Kevin Gausman in the series finale, as manager John Schneider can now save his best starter for Game No. 1 of the Wild Card, as Toronto is not in a ‘do or die’ situation with their postseason chances.
The Blue Jays could also choose to rest some of their position players for the last game, getting players like Cam Eden, Santiago Espinal, and Davis Schneider some last-minute audition time for the postseason roster.
Considering the likelihood that the Jays will head to Florida for the Wild Card series, it will be interesting to see how Schneider will stack up the lineup and who he will send to the mound, as the Blue Jays bullpen has been taxed these past two days and it wouldn’t be surprising if the club made a roster move for an additional arm to eat up some innings.
The two teams have seen a lot of each other over the past few weeks and the Jays also don’t boast the strongest record at Tropicana Field, along with the recent elimination memories from just a few years ago.
The Blue Jays will be looking for their first postseason win since 2016, as the club was swept in both 2020 and 2022 at the hands of the Rays and Mariners respectively. It has been a rollercoaster campaign for Toronto, as the pitching staff has been excellent this season while the bats have been hot and cold all season long, an area that will need to improve should they want to advance far into October.
If the Blue Jays play their cards right and advance out of the Wild Card, postseason baseball will return North of the border once again but they will have to either overcome their Tropicana Field demons to do so or take two of three out in Minnesota.