Checking in on the “race” for the eighth seed

The Blue Jays are doing everything in their power to turn what should be a slam-dunk playoff berth into a late-season race to the finish.

Fortunately for us, the other teams behind them in the standings seem to reaaaaally not want to keep playing baseball come October.

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A few days ago, the Jays boasted a 26-20 record. They were in fifth place in the American League, just three games back of the Minnesota Twins for fourth, which would have meant hosting the wild-card series, and three-and-a-half back of the Tampa Bay Rays for the AL East crown. It was obviously unlikely that they would pass either team, but, hey, it was possible.

Since then? The Jays rolled into Yankee Stadium and got their asses absolutely handed to them, getting outscored like 1000-12 over three games, and then they went into Philadelphia and dropped both games of a doubleheader against an injury-riddled Phillies squad.

They’re now four games behind the Yankees, seven-and-a-half behind the Rays, and the idea of hosting the wild-card series is completely out the window. The focus now with nine games remaining is simply just getting in.

So, how have the “chasing” teams done over that five-game stretch? The Jays gave them a prime opportunity to make up some ground. Did they capitalize?

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  • Seattle split a doubleheader with Oakland on Monday and has since lost three consecutive games. They’re currently 22-29 and have nine games left against San Diego, Houston, and Oakland.
  • Detroit beat Kansas City on Tuesday but has since lost three games in a row. They have two more games against Cleveland this weekend and then they’ll play in Minnesota and Cleveland to finish their season.
  • Baltimore has lost nine of their last 11 games. They managed two take two of three from Atlanta this week but then lost three in a row to Tampa. The O’s are 22-30 and play Tampa twice more this weekend before finishing their season against Boston and Toronto. Given the head-to-head, they probably have the best chance of catching the Jays at this point.

With nine games left, the Jays are four up on Seattle and four-and-a-half up on Detroit, Baltimore, and, randomly, the Angels. Despite losing five games in a row, they pretty much remain in the exact same spot they were during the off-day on Monday before all hell broke loose.

Even if the Jays were to lose out the rest of the season, Seattle would have to go 5-4 to pass them, Detroit would have to go 5-5, and Baltimore (or Anaheim) would have to go 5-3. As badly as it seems the Jays may want to fuck this up, it’s going to be pretty difficult to do so.