Toronto has won 18 of 22 games. They're now the hottest team in the majors, and would earn a wild card entry if the season ended today. Will the Blue Jays' winning ways continue?
At the start of September, we saw it coming.
Here at POINSTSPREADS.CA, we noted the Toronto Blue Jays were 5 games back in the stacked American League wild card race, with three teams in the AL East battling it out for two spots.
As strongly as we were pulling for Canada's favourite baseball team, we knew their chances were at best a longshot to make the playoffs. When September began, the Blue Jays were behind Boston, NY Yankees, and Oakland. Even Seattle was neck a neck with Toronto. The task appeared almost insurmountable.
We noted that Blue Jays had to play at the top of their game and beat up on all those teams to have any shot of making the playoffs. And that's precisely what happened.
Since that column appeared (READ IT HERE) Toronto has won 18/22 games. In a critical series at NY Yankees, the Blue Jays swept the Bronx Bombers in four straight. That's when we knew something magical might be happening.
This has been a wonderful September for Toronto baseball fans – and an even better time for their bettors and backers as the Blue Jays tickets have been cashing.
Toronto went from being 5 games behind to 1.5 games up in the wild card race. They also could earn the top seed, ahead of Boston (the teams are tied, right now).
Here's a look at the AL wild card standings as of Monday night:
We're now into the final two weeks of the season.
The Blue Jays won't win the AL East, of course. Tampa Bay has that spot locked up. So, it's the wild card, or nothing.
The Blue Jays play two solid teams and two bad teams the rest of the way. They face the Tampa Bay Rays three games, and the New York Yankees in three games. Toronto has played well against the Rays recently, taking 2 of 3 last week. Obviously, they need to beat the Yankees head-up to widen the gap in the race. The Yankees are 1.5 games behind the Blue Jays in the wild card race.
What really helps the Blue Jays the rest of the way is three games each versus Minnesota and Baltimore, both teams with losing records (especially the Orioles, who own the worst record in the majors). They must win a majority of those games. So, the stage is perfectly set. The Blue Jays are in control of their own destiny.
No doubt, all the talent needed to make the playoffs and then make an even deeper run is there with the Blue Jays. The pitching been sold, at times, Toronto's run-differential is far superior to any other team in the wild card race, including the Yankees and Red Sox. They're now at +177, which is even ahead of the division winner, Tampa Bay (+172).
So, with a powerhouse offense, competent pitching, and playing with lots of confidence, Toronto has suddenly become the team to beat in the A.L.
The Blue Jays enjoyed a great September, so far. Let's see if October will be even better.