Toronto's only reasonable path into the playoffs as a wild card team is to sweep the lowly Baltimore Orioles. The Blue Jays' final homestand with their season on the line is this weekend.
Well, that series against the Yankees sucked.
Toronto blew a shot to surpass the New York Yankees by losing 2 of 3 games at home this week. New York, by winning the critical series, is now virtually assured of a postseason spot. That leaves Toronto, Seattle, and Boston as the trio left to battle it out for the final wild card berth.
Unfortunately, the Blue Jays are the outside team looking in. Boston and Seattle are now tied, with Toronto a full game back in the standings. The Mariners have played terrific baseball lately, winners of 9 of 10 games. Boston has gone 5-5 in that stretch. And Toronto has no one to blame but themselves with a 4-6 record in the previous 10 games with their season at stake.
Here's a look at the A.L. wild card standings heading into the final weekend of the regular season:
As for what's ahead, let's start with the obvious.
Toronto absolutely must win all three upcoming games versus the Baltimore Orioles. The Blue Jays will be at home, and the Orioles are the worst team in the majors. So, it could happen. But let's be clear – Toronto is basically eliminated with any loss. The Blue Jays are -330 favourites tonight, which is a good omen for taking the first game of the series.
Then, the Blue Jays will need some help. Boston plays three final games on the road versus Washington, which hasn't played well lately. The Red Sox will be favoured in those games (they're -145 tonight), but it's possible the Nationals take at least a game. Toronto needs Boston to lose at least 2 games, since the tiebreaker would go to the Red Sox by virtue of their 10-9 win of head-to-head games this season.
The bigger obstacle may be Seattle, suddenly baseball's hottest team. They play at home against the LA Angels. Again, Toronto needs Seattle to lose at least 2 games, since the tiebreaker between these two teams in head-to-head play favours the Mariners 4 games to 2. So, this is going to be a tough challenge for the Blue Jays.
Summation: Toronto must win all three games versus Baltimore. And – Washington must win at least 2/3 from Boston. And – LA Angels must win at least 2/3 from Seattle. That's the only reasonable pathway into the postseason for Toronto.
The bottom line is after all this clears up – last night's loss by the Blue Jays to the Yankees was a killer. Their season is probably over with that defeat.