Welcome to Blue Jays Wild Card Watch, a daily snapshot of where Toronto stands in relation to its rivals in the playoff race. Each morning we'll briefly recap the previous night's action and tee up what comes next.
The Toronto Blue Jays didn't accomplish their mission of winning their weekend series against the Minnesota Twins, but at least they avoided complete and utter disaster.
After losing the first two games in Minnesota, the Blue Jays were able to salvage a split by winning on Saturday and Sunday. As a result, Toronto sits just one game back of the second American League wild-card spot heading into a season-defining series against the New York Yankees that begins on Tuesday.
New York travels north of the border fresh off an impressive sweep of the rival Boston Red Sox and has won six straight games overall. Rogers Centre capacity has been increased to 30,000 for this series, so the Blue Jays will be hoping their fans will help them cool off the Bronx Bombers.
Hyun-Jin Ryu (4.34 ERA) gets the start for the Blue Jays on Tuesday in his first appearance since landing on the injured list with a neck issue on Sept. 19. The big lefty had been struggling mightily before the injury, so if he doesn't get off on the right foot on Tuesday the leash will be shorter than usual.
Jameson Taillon (4.41 ERA) draws the starting assignment for the Yankees, and he is coming back from an injury of his own. The 29-year-old hasn't pitched since Sept. 6 when he allowed three runs over seven innings against these same Blue Jays.
Here's a look at what's happening elsewhere in the AL wild-card race.
Boston Red Sox
Last night's result: Off day.
Tonight's matchup: Coming off that devastating sweep at the hands of the Yankees, the Red Sox suddenly find themselves clinging to their playoff spot. Luckily for them, their schedule the rest of the way is a cake walk. Boston kicks off a three-game set with the lowly Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday before wrapping up their regular season in Washington against the Nationals.
Undefeated Red Sox ace Chris Sale (2.57 ERA) toes the rubber against Orioles southpaw Bruce Zimmermann (4.83 ERA) tonight.
Last night's result: The Mariners refuse to roll over. Mitch Haniger blasted a pair of three-run homers as Seattle clobbered the Oakland Athletics on Monday. The victory marked the Mariners' 10th straight over the Athletics, who are clinging to their playoff lives.
Tonight's matchup: Seattle aims to bury Oakland even deeper into the hole when it sends Tyler Anderson to the mound against Chris Bassitt, who is making his second start since being hit in the face by a line drive six weeks ago.
Blue Jays fans should be rooting for the A's to bounce back and bring the Mariners down to earth. A Seattle victory combined with a Toronto loss tonight would drop the Blue Jays below the Mariners in the standings.
See Mariners section.
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