The third Wild Card position still features the ideal path for the Blue Jays
2 months ago
By the end of the day, the Toronto Blue Jays will know who they’re going to play in the American League Wild Card Series.
However, the big question is, which pathway is the more ideal option? They could either face Minnesota or Tampa, both away, but what about if they advance to the American League Divisional Series?
Despite the Mariners being eliminated on Saturday evening, there’s still many ways the standings could fall between the Jays, the Astros, and the Rangers.
There are five different scenarios, with the best being Toronto falling to the third wildcard spot, and Texas and Houston winning (or just Houston winning).
Let’s look at why this is the more ideal pathway.
The best option:
If the Jays drop to the final Wild Card spot, they would be heading to Minnesota on Tuesday to face the Twins. While Minnesota will be the home team, they’ll have the worst record of any team that made the American League playoffs. In fact, they could have an even worse record than the Seattle Mariners, who missed the playoffs.
By no means is this a walk in the park for the Jays. The expected starters for the Twins are Pablo López and Sonny Gray. The former has a 3.66 ERA and a 3.34 FIP in 194 innings pitched this season, while the latter has a 2.79 ERA and a 2.83 FIP in 184 innings pitched.
Say the Jays defeat them and Texas wins the American League West, the Jays will then fly to Arlington to face the Rangers. Now, Texas swept the Jays early in September which put Toronto’s playoff aspirations in peril. However, we know how Texas does against the Blue Jays in the American League Divisional Series.
This to me, is the ideal pathway.
The next best option:
In this scenario, the Jays still fall to the third Wild Card spot. However, Houston ends up winning the American League West.
The Blue Jays have gotten the better of Houston in the season series, winning four of the seven games. Moreover, they won the 2022 season series against the eventual World Series Champs 4-2.
However, these games came rather early in the season, before the Astros made big trades at the deadline.
The bad option:
Because of how the MLB Playoffs are structured, the worst team in the playoffs has home field advantage, even though the Jays could wind up with a better record than them.
If the Jays were to win and Texas wins, the Jays will get the second wild card spot and face the Rays. The other scenario of how this could happen is if all teams lose, or if just Texas wins.
The Rays are a tough team, but they’re falling apart with injuries. Still, facing Tyler Glasnow is less than ideal, and playing at Tropicana Field is never fun.
Not just that, but the Jays would then face the second best team in baseball, the Baltimore Orioles. Against the trash birds of the American League East, they are 3-10, scoring 40 runs and allowing 75. Yikes. Overall, they have a 21-30 record against American League East, with that potentially going to 22-30 or 21-31.
It’s worth mentioning that Baltimore’s starting pitching staff may not be good enough for the playoffs. Furthermore, they have a young team and haven’t been to the playoffs since the Jays ended their 2016 playoff run early.
Still, finishing in the third Wild Card spot is the ideal option.
So what will happen:
The Blue Jays have Wes Parsons starting the game, and realistically he’ll keep going until he can’t no more. It doesn’t matter if he gives up 11 runs, he was called up to eat innings.
Obviously, they may win the game, but it really depends on what the two Lonestar State teams do on Sunday afternoon.
As always, you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Threads @Brennan_L_D.
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