Toronto has won 7 straight games and is now just 2 back in the wild card race. They've made up 4 games this past week and are suddenly the hottest team in the majors. Will the Blue Jays' hot streak continue?
Last week, we saw it coming.
We noted the Toronto Blue Jays were 5 games back in the stacked American League wild card race. Much as we rooted for our team, we considered Canada's favourite baseball team a longshot to make the playoffs.
We noted that the Jays absolutely had to play at the top of their game and beat up on the Oakland A's and the New York Yankees in the week ahead to have any shot of making the playoffs. Well, that was then, and this is now.
Since that column appeared (READ IT HERE) Toronto has won 7 straight games. Better yet, they've defeated the teams they needed to beat – two of the obstacle rivals in their way – both Oakland and NY Yankees. They also pushed Seattle aside in the wild card race like a junk car blocking the highway. Boston, the other team in wild contention, doesn't seem to know what direction they're headed.
Oh yes, this has been a wonderful week for Toronto baseball fans – and an even better week for their bettors and backers.
Here's a look at the AL wild card standings as of Thursday:
We're now into the final full month of the 2021 MLB regular season. The Blue Jays won't win the AL East, of course. Tampa Bay already has that spot locked up, especially given how well they are playing right now (9.5 games up, with only three weeks to play). It's the wild card, or nothing.
The Blue Jays still have one game remaining against the New York Yankees. If they can win that one on Thursday night, which would be a sweep, that would cap off a staggering resurrection from the dead, not only coming back from a .500 record a month ago but leapfrogging four teams and making up 5 games in a single week's time.
What really helps the Blue Jays the rest of the way is a very easy schedule. In fact, 14 of their remaining 25 games are versus Baltimore and Minnesota, two of the worst teams in the AL. They absolutely 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. Not only has the pitching been spectacular, 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 +143, which is third best in the A.L.
So, with a powerhouse offense and four above-average starting pitchers, and plenty of confidence, Toronto has suddenly become the team to watch. They're no longer a dark horse. The Blue Jays are contenders. Serious contenders.