Although the Blue Jays did not play yesterday, they received some good news from a fellow AL East rival: the Boston Red Sox. With the Red Sox defeating the Orioles yesterday, via an eighth-inning two-run shot by J.D. Martinez over the Green Monster, the Blue Jays have mathematically secured a spot in the 2022 MLB postseason.
While there were no locker room celebrations filled with champagne and goggles given the off day yesterday, the Blue Jays are heading back to playoff baseball after barely missing out last season, finishing just one game out of the Wild Card that would have forced a tiebreaker between the Jays and Red Sox.
Toronto did make the playoffs back in 2020, but got swept by the Tampa Bay Rays in the Wild Card and the team has not won a meaningful October game since their last playoff run back in 2016.
Blue Jays and the AL Wild Card
The Blue Jays have been in the thick of the AL Wild Card race for a large portion of the season, fighting with the likes of the Rays and the Seattle Mariners for first place. The Red Sox, Orioles, Minnesota Twins, and Chicago White Sox were also in the mix until this past month or so when a majority of the teams started to fade away and the Orioles were left as the only club with an outside chance of making it.
For the Blue Jays, they still have six games to go on the year, welcoming the Red Sox tonight for a weekend series before traveling to Baltimore to finish out the season in a three-game stint. After last night, the Jays have a 2.0 game lead over the Mariners and a 2.5 game lead over the Rays.
This means that if the Blue Jays can take each series and finish 4-2 and finish with a 91-71 record (identical to last season), the Mariners would need to go 6-1 and the Rays would need to win every one of their six remaining games to tie the Jays for first in the AL Wild Card. The following results would be needed for a tie at first, depending on the Blue Jays finish their season:
Jays: (92-69): Mariners (7-0) / Rays (NA)
Jays: (91-71): Mariners (6-1) / Rays (6-0)
Jays (90-72): Mariners (5-2) / Rays (5-1)
Jays (89-73): Mariners (4-3) / Rays (4-2)
Jays (88-74): Mariners (3-4) / Rays (3-3)
Jays (87- 75): Mariners (2-5) / Rays (2-4)
Looking ahead to the remaining schedule, the simple fact is that the Blue Jays have the upper hand in facing two teams that they should theoretically beat on paper. The Rays and the Mariners hold the series advantage and would bump the Jays down as per the new tiebreaker scenarios, so the more wins they can muster over the next few days, the better their chances of standing alone at the top of the Wild Card picture.
Now they need to execute and finish the season strong so that way they can secure home field advantage in the AL Wild Card and face either the Mariners or Rays at the Rogers Centre rather than be on the road (especially since they have a poor track record at Tropicana Field).
Regardless though, for a young ballclub filled with talented stars that will be part of their future, it will be great to get them some experience in October and that is exactly what they will get now that the Blue Jays have clinched a playoff berth.