BLUE JAYS CLINCH TOP WILD CARD SEED, HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE

2022-10-05 · 4 min read · MLB/Baseball
Toronto Blue Jays October Rise

Toronto Blue Jays Twitter @BlueJays

Following two quick outs by Detroit’s Andrew Chafin - a man who, when the Tigers travelled to Toronto at the end of July, wasn’t allowed across the border - Seattle’s dim hopes of hosting their Wild Card series rested on the shoulders of utilityman Sam Haggerty. After taking back-to-back signature Chafin sinkers, the third-year Mariner slapped the third one he saw for a single. And then promptly stole 2nd. Speedster J.P. Crawford replaced Haggerty, and the M’s had the tying run in scoring position, down 4-3. A win would keep them in the hunt, a loss would give Toronto an incredible boost. On the sixth pitch of the at-bat, Carlos Santana swung and missed at a slider to end the ballgame.
As Chafin embraced Tucker Barnhart on the mound, Canada celebrated.
In what will be the first time since 2016 that playoff baseball will hit the field at the Rogers Centre, this Friday marks the start of Toronto’s highly anticipated postseason run. The Seattle Mariners will be the Jays’ foe in MLB’s first season of three-team Wild Card standings, following a Seattle 7-6 win and Rays 6-0 loss today
Two regular season games remain though - a meaningless doubleheader against Baltimore on Wednesday. Jays’ Manager John Schneider made it clear that all eyes are focused on Seattle, and so long as nobody gets hurt over the next 24 hours, results don’t matter. If Yusei Kikuchi could throw all 18 innings, he probably would. Prior to Tuesday’s rainout against the O’s, Springer, Bichette, Chapman, Kirk, and Hernandez were all scheduled for a rest day - meaning the return of Bradley Zimmer, starting Outfielder. Alas, we shall have to wait at least one more day.
Now comes the tough part for the Jays’ management, a roster crunch of who makes the Wild Card roster and who doesn’t. Surely there are obvious ones; Catcher Gabriel Moreno and Infielder Otto Lopez will likely be assigned to the taxi-squad, while (at least) one of Mitch White, Yusei Kikuchi, or Zach Pop will be ousted for the time being. Alek Manoah and Kevin Gausman will likely start games 1 and 2, with Manoah being confirmed by the team prior to today’s doubleheader. On the flip side, Luis Castillo will start Game 1 for the Mariners, with Robbie Ray - albeit with not a great September - lined up to toe the rubber in Game 2. Logan Gilbert may also have a say in the series, though anytime prior to a Game 3 would be a surprise. Regardless, both teams have quite the pitching staff and low-scoring games would shock no one based on the numbers.
Having just confirmed start times, first pitch will fly at 4:07pm Friday afternoon with the Toronto-Seattle series drawing Dave Flemming, Jessica Mendoza, and Tim Kurkjian for ESPN’s US National broadcast (Per Andrew Marchand). New to this year, Sportsnet will also be producing each Toronto game - this allows Canadians to watch a home broadcast, something that is quite rare when playoffs roll around. Buck & Pat will be manning the mic as per usual, with Dan Shulman jumping over to ESPN Radio for the postseason.
In other news around the MLB, the Mets’ epic divisional collapse resulted in Atlanta winning the NL East for the fifth straight year - this comes six years to the day after then-Baltimore, current-Mets Manager Buck Showalter left Ubaldo Jimenez in the game to face Edwin Encarnacion in the 2016 Wild Card…and the rest, well, is history. Coincidence? I think not.
Also in the NL East, Philadelphia followed up their playoff-clinching Monday with a 10-0 shutout loss to Houston, being no-hit into the ninth inning. Take this information as you will.
Aaron Judge hit his 62nd home run of the season Tuesday, something that three other people have already done. Congrats, though.
Only a few days remain before the entire city starts to collectively sweat with excitement - enjoy it while it lasts Toronto, the anxiety of the playoffs will be on us in no time!
Sports Tree Profile

By: Gus Cousins

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