With only 24 games remaining in the Toronto Blue Jays season, their trip to the Big Apple this past weekend was all business and no pleasure. Sitting with a slim 1.5 AL East lead heading into this series against rival New York Yankees, every game was crucial for the blue birds.
With the rain pouring Thursday evening, the game was postponed to Saturday, making it a double header. Friday night, fans witnessed the Blue Jays pound the baseball all over Yankee stadium, racking up an 11-5 win for the away squad. Saturday was no different for the Blue Jays, putting up 6 runs in the top of the second, New York was out before they went through their entire lineup at the plate. Toronto went on to win the second game of the doubleheader 10-7. (This game also saw the return of Marcus Stroman, who hasn’t thrown a baseball for the Jays in a regular season game since last season).
Earlier in the day, the Yankees saw their first lead of the series, but that quickly vanished in the top of the fifth. Timely hits and strong defensive plays allowed the Jays to add another W to the Win column, taking this game 9-5. The road trip to New York was definitely something the Jays needed, but there was one problem that dampened the mood. Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was hit from behind while catching a fly ball, and reports indicate he will be out for two to three weeks.
Sunday was the final game of the series in New York before the Blue Jays travel to Atlanta to open up a three game series with the Braves. Unfortunately for the Jays, they got shutout in the afternoon matinee.
For the final games of the regular season, Toronto only has a 3.5 lead on the pinstripes. (They have a substantial lead on the Wild Card race however, sitting a solid eight games up on the final Wild Card spot.)
What is the rest of the schedule like for the hopefully playoff-bound Blue Jays? Of the 19 games still left on the schedule to knock off, only 9 of them will be in front of their home supporters at the Rogers Centre. While looking down the line, 10 games are away from Canada. That may not seem like a big deal to some people, but going down the final stretch of the season, you definitely want more games in front of your clan.
None of the teams the Blue Jays play on the road have above .500 records. The only team close to playing meaningful baseball are the Tampa Bay Rays, whom Toronto will square-off against in St. Petersburg for the final three games of the season. The other subpar team is Toronto’s division rival Baltimore Orioles. While Toronto may be away from home, there is definitely some comfort knowing the final baseball games will be against teams not in their realm. However, all three of these teams will be trying to play spoiler, and that is just as deadly as facing a team vying for a playoff berth.
The nine games at home have the Blue Jays salivating more than Pavlov’s dog. They’re facing Boston and Tampa, but the only meaningful games at home will be played against the New York Yankees. Depending on how both teams play the game heading into their final meeting of the season, this three game set could be the nail in the coffin for one of these clubs.
Inching closer and closer to playoff baseball, the downtown core of Toronto is excited, and the Jays have received support from the rest of Canada. Go get ‘em, Blue Jays!