19 games is all that remains of the 2012 season for the Toronto Blue Jays and at 65-78 one would think that this team would have little to say in regards to the postseason. After all, they find themselves 15.5 games out of both the American League East and the final Wild Card slot. With an elimination number of 4 (combined wins of division leaders or losses by the Jays), the march to October for the Blue Jays is grinding toward a halt.
That does not mean that they will not go down without a fight and do what they can to take down other contenders with them.
The glory of September is the decidedly lopsided schedule means that Toronto is being heavily matched up against American League East opponents. Notably, the Blue Jays have seven games remaining against the New York Yankees, four against the Baltimore Orioles, and three against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Upon completion of the Red Sox series, Toronto will visit New York for a three game set at Yankee Stadium starting on Tuesday September 18th through Thursday September 20th. The Yankees return to Rogers Centre to close out the month of September with a seven-game set from September 27th through the 30th. The Blue Jays have played the Yankees tough in 2012, holding a 5-6 record against the Bronx Bombers, including a 2 of 3 against New York at Yankees Stadium at the end of August. To make some noise, they’ll have to get a strong start from Ricky Romero on Tuesday and hope that Andy Pettitte shows rust in his return to the Yankee rotation. A strong start to the series will send a message to New York that the Blue Jays will have a say in their dwindling postseason hopes.
Next weekend, Toronto gets their final look at Tampa Bay, traveling to the Trop for a three-game set from September 21st to the 23rd. Unlike the Yankees, the Blue Jays have struggled against the Rays in 2012, posting a 4-11 mark against Tampa. The trip could serve two purposes; putting the nail in Tampa’s coffin by reversing the course of their season series with the Rays and getting a last look at potential free agent B.J. Upton who may represent an outfield target this winter.
The Jays wrap up the 10 game road trip with a three-day, four-game series against the Baltimore Orioles, including a double-header on Tuesday September 24th. This will also be he last time Toronto sees the Orioles, who are currently tied with the Yankees for the division lead and the Wild Card. Toronto is 5-9 against the Orioles on the season, including losing 4 of the last 5 against Baltimore. Still, if there was ever a time to even the score, now would be it.
The only problem is that with the exception of the four-game set with the Yankees, these games are all played on the road, meaning that Blue Jays fans do not get the opportunity to have one final cheering point at home on the season. Still, Baltimore used the exhilaration of being in the knife in Boston’s back in 2011 to drive their success in 2012.
Could Toronto use a strong close to 2012 to do the same in 2013?