Next up: Blue Jays begin critical 10-game homestand with lowly Royals
Photo credit:Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
By Cam Lewis13 days ago
The Blue Jays are in control of their own destiny.
They’re a half-game up on the struggling Rangers for the third and final wild-card position in the American League and Texas are coming to Toronto for a four-game series next week. Winning three of four in that set would create some space between the Blue Jays and the Rangers in the standings and would also give Toronto the head-to-head tiebreaker between the two teams.
But before that, the Blue Jays need to take care of business against another basement team.
Toronto will be hosting the Kansas City Royals this weekend while the Rangers are in Oakland to face the Athletics. A sweep of the 44-97 Royals would ensure that the Blue Jays are ahead of the Rangers in the standings when they arrive in Toronto no matter what Texas does in Oakland.
Of course, as we’ve learned over the past couple of weeks, there’s no such thing as an easy series for this team. They just took four of six games against the A’s and Colorado Rockies, two of the worst teams in baseball, and haven’t swept a series since early August.
Yusei Kikuchi will start things off on Friday while the Royals send out Alec Marsh, a rookie who has a 6.23 ERA through his first 12 appearances at the big league level. After that, it’ll be Kevin Gausman going up against 39-year-old Zack Greinke, who has a 1-14 record and a 5.34 ERA for the season.
If the Blue Jays can win those first two games, they’ll go for the sweep against young lefty Cole Ragans, who was named AL Pitcher of the Month for August. Ragans, who came back from Texas in exchange for closer Aroldis Chapman, has a 1.51 ERA with 63 strikeouts over eight starts since joining the Royals. José Berríos is expected to start for the Blue Jays in the finale.
The Blue Jays should be getting a boost to their lineup this weekend as Bo Bichette is expected to return from the 10-day Injured List, possibly as early as Friday, according to Sportsnet’s Arden Zwelling. It doesn’t look like Matt Chapman, Toronto’s other injured infielder, will be back quite as soon. Zwelling said that Chapman is still waiting for the swelling in his finger to settle down before he resumes baseball activity.
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