Landing in the third Wild Card spot would be a win for the Blue Jays
5 months ago
No one will catch the Tampa Bay Rays.
So once again, it looks as if the Blue Jays will have to settle for a Wild Card spot for the second consecutive season.
As you may recall, last season the Blue Jays finished with home field advantage in the Wild Card series. It didn’t end well, but realistically they would have to face the 106-56 Houston Astros in the American League Divisional Series, where they had a good chance of getting swept like the Seattle Mariners did.
So that begs the question, should the Blue Jays once again try to go for home field advantage for the two or third games? No, they absolutely shouldn’t, and here’s why.
An American League Central team awaits the final wild card spot:
Like every season, the Central Division teams are awful, both in the American League and National League. As of June 20th, the Minnesota Twins have a 36-37 record, which would rank them 10th in the American League.
However, due to absolutely terrible format of the MLB playoffs, the tenth place team is more like the third place team as they’ve won their division. This is good news for whatever team finishes in the final Wild Card spot.
While the Twins (or any other Central team) is no pushover, whichever team wins the American League Central will by far be the worst team.
If the Jays finish in the second Wild Card or even the first Wild Card spot, they could have to play an American League East team like the Baltimore Orioles or the New York Yankees. There’s also a chance that they play the battle-tested Houston Astros, who are lurking near a Wild Card position as well.
Other teams in the mix are the Los Angeles Angels or the Texas Rangers, but knowing the playoff history with the latter, it’d be a cake walk for the Jays!
At least the Cleveland Guardians finished with a respectable 92-70 record last season, the same mark the Jays had. The Twins getting home field advantage with a losing record would just be pathetic.
It gets worse:
So let’s say that the Blue Jays defeat the New York Yankees/Baltimore Orioles/Houston Astros/Los Angeles Angels/Texas Rangers, who will they get in the American League Divisional Series?
Since MLB doesn’t reformat the bracket after a round, the potential third best team in the American League would take on the Tampa Bay Rays in a five-game series, unless they have an epic collapse.
So after facing a good team in a best of three wild card series, you;ll have to face off against the powerhouse team. Personally, three games at Tropicana Field sounds like the worst time of my life, and I don’t imagine it’s any better for the players. I’d much rather take my chances in seven games against the Rays.
Would you rather…:
Would you rather face the Minnesota Twins (or whatever awful AL Central team sneaks in) in a best of three, then play the American League West team like the Texas Rangers or Houston Astros in five games…
Or would you like to face a team such as the Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees, or the Houston Astros, then face off against the rested, powerhouse Tampa Bay Rays.
To me, the answer is pretty obvious. If you can’t win the division, the best place to be is in the final wild card position.
As always, you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @Brennan_L_D. Fix your playoff format please, MLB.
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