MLB playoff push: Blue Jays may clinch victory over Yankees on Thursday


A year after losing 95 games, the Toronto Blue Jays are on the verge of their first playoff appearance in four years. And this time, they don’t need anyone else’s help to get off the hook.

With Hyun Jin Ryu set to face the New York Yankees on Thursday night, the Blue Jays’ magic number has finally fallen to one. A win would wipe out the Los Angeles Angels and Seattle Mariners and secure the Blue Jays the last available spot for the American League playoffs. On the mound, there’s no one from Toronto who prefers the throw than Ryu, whose 3.00 average was instrumental in the team’s success.

Watch live Thursday on Sportsnet, SN1 and SN NOW as the Blue Jays seek a playoff berth with a win over the Yankees. Coverage begins at 6 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. PT with Blue Jays Central.

Considering the Blue Jays’ situation a year ago, they weren’t considered a playoff favorite going into the season, but they’ve overcome injuries to get this far – while still playing in their season. triple-A park. And while the Blue Jays would undoubtedly be underdogs if they advance, anything can happen in a three-game series. First of all, however, they have to get there.

Here’s a look at Toronto’s situation in the MLB playoff picture …

If the playoffs started today
The top two teams from each division will advance to the playoffs with the top two remaining teams from each league for a total of 16 playoff teams. These 16 teams will then face off in the best eight of the three series leading up to the League Division Series.

If the post-season started today, these eight American League teams would qualify:
# 1 Tampa Bay Rays vs. 8 Toronto Blue Jays
N ° 2 Oakland Athletics vs N ° 7 Indians de Cleveland
No.3 Minnesota Twins vs. No.6 Houston Astros
No. 4 Chicago White Sox vs No. 5 New York Yankees

And these eight National League teams would qualify:
No.1 Los Angeles Dodgers vs. No.8 Cincinnati Reds
Braves n ° 2 d’Atlanta vs Giants de San Francisco n ° 7
No.3 Chicago Cubs vs. No.6 Miami Marlins
No 4 San Diego Padres contre No 5 St Louis Cardinals

How the ranking works in 2020: According to MLB, the top three seeds in each league are awarded to the three division winners in ranking order. The next three seeds go to the three teams that finish second in their division, in order of record. The last two seeds will go to the two teams with the next best records, regardless of the division.

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Within striking distance
In the American League, only two teams outside of the top eight have a chance to advance to the playoffs and both will need everything to qualify. The Angels (26-31) and Mariners (25-31) both left Thursday, but a Blue Jays win would knock those teams out of the AL West. Even though the Blue Jays lose Thursday, the Angels and Mariners will still be one loss away from elimination as they begin their weekend streak against the Dodgers and Athletics, respectively.

Meanwhile, in the National League, there are still eight teams in the mix for the last four places. The Phillies (28-29) and Brewers (27-28) are only one game behind the Giants (28-27) and Reds (29-28), putting a lot of pressure on San Francisco and Cincinnati. Even the Mets (25-31) and Rockies (24-31) are still technically in the mix, although they would need help moving forward.

Playoff Odds Report
Objectively speaking, here’s where the Blue Jays stack up against their closest opponents, according to FanGraphs and FiveThirtyEight:

Cotes des FanGraphs des Blue Jays: 99.8% | Cotes FiveThirtyEight des Blue Jays: plus de 99%

Angels’ FanGraphs rate: 1.5% | Angels FiveThirtyEight: 1%

Mariners’ FanGraphs odds: 0.1% | Mariners FiveThirtyEight odds: less than 1%

Ben Nicholson-Smith is Sportsnet’s baseball editor. Arden Zwelling is a senior writer. Together, they bring you the most in-depth Blue Jays podcast in the league, covering all the latest news with opinions and analysis, as well as interviews with other insiders and team members.

The Blue Jays will send Ryu to the mound on Thursday night while the Yankees counter with Jordan Montgomery. Once the Yankees leave town, the Baltimore Orioles will arrive in Buffalo for three games to wrap up the regular season. Of course, if all goes well for the Blue Jays on Thursday, this series against the Orioles will just be a playoff tune-up.


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