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It all comes down to Game 162

The Blue Jays need to win on Sunday.

I mean, we’ve known all along that Toronto needs to pull off a sweep against the Baltimore Orioles this weekend in order to make the playoffs, but, now it’s a literal must-win situation. No matter what New York, Boston, or Seattle does, the Blue Jays will be out of the picture with a loss on Sunday.

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The Blue Jays have done their job thus far. They squeezed out a needlessly stressful win on Friday night and then they handed out a shit-kicking on Saturday afternoon to put their record at 90-71 on the season. The Yankees have dropped both of their games against the Rays and the Red Sox have won both of their games against the Nationals, so they sit at 91-70 each.

Tomorrow we have…

  • Hyun Jin Ryu vs Bruce Zimmermann. We haven’t seen Zimmermann yet this season but he has a 4.66 ERA over the course of 13 outings and his peripherals (7.8 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, 5.22 FIP) are even worse than what his boxcars indicate. The Blue Jays should hit this guy, and they might need to because we have no idea what to expect from Ryu. After a stint on the 10-day Injured List, Ryu was OK against the Yankees earlier this week, allowing three earned runs on six hits and one walk over four-and-one-third innings. Ryu is going on normal rest and he got tagged by the Orioles just a few weeks ago. If things go south, we’ll surely see a quick hook and Jose Berrios, who started on Wednesday, might factor into the game.
  • Jameson Taillon vs Michael Wacha. The Rays have been very helpful this weekend, winning the first two games of their series with New York, but they’re sending a pretty bad starter in Wacha to the hill on Sunday. Wacha has a 5-26 ERA for the season and he allows a lot of homers, which isn’t ideal facing the Yankees in New York. That said, Tampa didn’t use any high-leverage relievers on Saturday, so they’ll all be rested if the Rays want to go hard and fuck the Yankees over. On the other side, New York will send Taillon, who left his start in Toronto after two-and-one-third innings due to an injury, to the mound. The Yankees felt it was too risky to go with Gerrit Cole on short rest here and, ideally, that plan backfires.
  • Chris Sale vs Joan Adon. The Red Sox will have their ace on the mound on Sunday as they look to sweep the Nationals. Sale is great, of course, but he’s not untouchable. In his last outing against the Orioles, Sale allowed three earned runs over five-and-one-third and he’s only cleared six innings in one of his eight starts this year. Going for Washington will be *checks notes* Joan Adon? This is a 23-year-old prospect who has a 4.97 ERA over 105 innings this season between Single-, Double-, and Triple-A.

Here are the scenarios of things that can happen.

The Blue Jays need to win and they need one of Boston or New York to lose. If both New York and Boston win, Toronto is dead. And, of course, if the Blue Jays lose, they’re also dead. We need a win and we need either the Rays or Nationals to help us out.

What Seattle does here doesn’t matter quite so much for the Blue Jays, but it can complicate things and make this incredibly chaotic. If the Mariners lose a game, they’re done. But, if they win their final two games, they can force their way into a tie for a post-season spot.

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A four-way tie would happen if New York and Boston lose, Toronto wins, and Seattle wins both of their games. That seems unlikely, but it’s possible, and it would be fucking hilarious!