Photo Credit: © Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays now sit fifth in the American League standings after a huge comeback win over the Yankees

No Bo Bichette? No Teoscar Hernandez? No problem. The Blue Jays’ lineup exploded for a 10-run inning to sink the Yankees on Monday night, making one of their most important victories of the season.

Things worth mentioning…

  • It’s been mentioned many, many times, but this stretch against the Yankees (10 games in a couple of weeks) is absolutely massive for the Blue Jays. If they do well during this stretch, they can certainly finish with the second-best record in the American League East and shove the Yankees down into a battle for seventh and eighth in the league.
  • It looked like the New York Grind got off to an ugly start last night when Hyun Jin Ryu got roughed up. Ryu, who had been lights out over the past month, allowed three homers and left the game with the Blue Jays trailing by a score of 5-2. The issue for Ryu on Monday was that his mix of pitches became too predictable. He generally throws an array of five different pitches to keep hitters off-balance, but against the Yankees on Monday, he threw 61 changeups or curveballs. Two of the homers he allowed in the first came on fastballs, which likely led to Ryu opting to go for more of the soft stuff, but it gave the Yankees a chance to sit back and wait.
  • But, at the end of the day, it didn’t matter because of what happened in the sixth inning. Down by a score of 6-2 and facing down the barrel of a strong Yankees’ bullpen, the Jays went to work, grinding through easily their most impressive inning of the season at the plate. Santiago Espinal started it off with a walk, Danny Jansen flew out, Cavan Biggio walked, Randal Grichuk singled, Rowdy Telle reached on an error, Vlad Jr. singled (and then stole second!!!!), Lourdes Gurriel singled, Jonathan Villar walked, Travis Shaw singled, Joe Panik walked, and then Jansen capped it all off with a grand slam. Boom. 10 runs. Though the slam was the exclamation point at the end, it was amazing to see the Jays, a team that generally lives and dies by the long-ball, scratch and claw their way to a big inning largely through having good at-bats, taking walks, and hitting singles. That was a playoff inning.

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  • It’s pretty incredible to see the Jays put together back-to-back explosions offensively, especially considering Teoscar Hernandez, their best bat this season, was just placed on the 10-day Injured List. But the key to Toronto’s good play offensively lately has been a change in their approach. They’re striking out waaaaay less, which is exactly what we saw in the sixth inning.

  • So, with the win, the Jays move to 23-18 on the season, putting them two games ahead of the Yankees, three-and-a-half games over the Orioles, and four games over the Mariners and Tigers. They have the sixth-best record in the American League, but, if they finish second in the AL East, they wouldn’t be one of the seventh- or eighth-seeded Wild Card teams. Right now, that would have them technically in fifth-place in the playoff standings.