Looking back at the last time the Toronto Blue Jays played the Chicago Cubs
Photo credit:Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
1 year ago
Can you believe that 2017 was five years ago?
Two seasons prior, the Jays made it to the American League Championship Series, losing in six games to the Kansas City Royals in 2015 and five games to the team from Cleveland.
In 2017, the Blue Jays position players had an average age of 31, a year older than the Los Angeles Angels, who had an average age of 29.9. This is to say that their competitive window in 2017 was closing, and quite quickly.
At the 2017 trade deadline, the Jays didn’t sell, but they also didn’t improve. They traded Francisco Liriano for Nori Aoki (and Teoscar Hernandez), and also traded reliever Joe Smith for Samad Taylor and Thomas Pannone. So while they were looking ahead to the future, their best players (Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, Justin Smoak, etc) remained with the team.
It’s August 17th, 2017 and the Blue Jays are facing off against the defending World Series champions, the Chicago Cubs. Toronto is just 3 games back of the second wild card spot with seven teams to pass (it was an absolute log jam).
On the other hand, Chicago is fifth in the National League and pretty much has the NL Central locked up. If the Jays can sweep the series, they have a good chance of leapfrogging a few of these teams and putting themselves in a better position for a shot to make a run.
After the Cubs swept the Blue Jays, they fell five games behind the wildcard spot on August 21st. By the end of the month, they were 8.5 games back with just 28 games left to play. This was the series that started the downward spiral of their season.
Fast forward five seasons and the Blue Jays play the Cubs in a three-game set in August, the first time since the 2017 season. Things are different. The Cubs are not the defending champs and are currently in the middle of a rebuild. The Jays don’t have to leap-frog any teams, as they are currently in the third wildcard.
However, just like in 2017, a sweep at the hands of the Cubs could spell the beginning of the end for the Blue Jays’ playoff hopes. The streaking Baltimore Orioles only sit a game and a half back of the wild card spot. A sweep and two wins from the Orioles will move the Jays out of a playoff spot come September 1st.
Not all hope would be lost if somehow the Jays were swept. Plus it’s unlikely as the Chicago Cubs aren’t a particularly good team, but the Jays just recently were swept by the 52-73 Los Angeles Angels (now 55-73). Not just that, but they were outscored 22-3 in that series, which is not a good situation in the slightest.
With that being said, it would be incredibly ironic if the Cubs swept the Jays, leading to the Jays missing the playoffs. Let’s hope that this doesn’t happen.
As always, you can follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D.
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