Playoffs? Blue Jays Need To Continue Streak vs AL East First
Just a week ago even the most optimistic of us in Blue Jays land had all but given up hope on a playoff run this season. The Toronto Blue Jays then decided to go on an 8 game win streak and are now sitting just a game below .500 and just 5 games back of the Wild Card.
To truly make some noise in the AL playoff picture the Blue Jays need to close the gap on their fellow members of the American League’s Only Good Division East. The easiest way to do that? Beat those AL East opponents, and luckily for the Blue Jays their winning streak has coincided with the start of 10 straight intradivision games.
After years of clamouring for “meaningful baseball” I would like to introduce my fellow Blue Jays fans to exactly that.
These next 10 games for the Blue Jays are just about as important as baseball games can get in late June. A continuation of their winning ways would vault the Blue Jays back into not just the Wild Card, but also the AL East race, while stumbling over the next 10 days could easily wipe out the resurgence seen over the streak.
What can we expect from the Blue Jays over the next 10 days? I have no idea! You see baseball is kind of a crazy game where a team that is 9 games below .500 can go on 8 game winning streaks (including a 4 game sweep of one of the league’s best teams). If you saw the last 10 games coming, let me know and I’ll hand over my savings account for you to gamble with and make me rich.
If you think that not knowing what is going to happen is going to stop my from writing about what I think is going to happen, you’ve gravely misunderstood the bloggin’ game friend. Without further adieu, I present my predictions for the next 10 games:
First up in the gauntlet are the Baltimore Orioles. Currently holding one of the AL Wild Card spots buoyed by the other worldly play of Chris Davis and continued brilliance of Manny Machado, it’s time we Blue Jays fans realize that the regression monster might not be coming for Baltimore…they might actually be good L.
This 3-game set may very well be the “most important” among the 10 game AL East binge as it is the Orioles currently holding the spot that we are likely chasing after (and they’re the only other AL East team that doesn’t seem to be struggling of late).
With Jason Hammel , Miguel Gonzalez, and To Be Announced starting for the Orioles this weekend, and co staff aces R.A. Dickey, Chien-Ming Wang, and Josh Johnson starting for the Blue Jays, a nice two out of 3 weekend (I don’t want to get greedy) seems very possible heading into Tampa Bay.
The Rays have struggled as of late and are the most likely victim to be the first team to fall behind the Toronto Blue Jays in the AL East standings. This symbolic victory for the Blue Jays could be made even sweeter if it were to come at the hands of the Jays over this series.
The Rays are 21-16 at home so far this season, but may not even have a chance as Jose Reyes may be looking to rejoin his comrades at the Trop.
The starters have not yet been announced for this series, but with Jose Reyes possibly returning to his rightful spot at the top of the lineup Cy Young could be toeing the rubber for the Rays and I would still predict a Blue Jays sweep.
This is the series that I’m looking most forward to. A 4 game set against the (for now) division leading Boston Red Sox will be the penultimate series of this 10 game “must win” string. If the Blue Jays manage to keep this winning streak alive through until this series, I will immensely enjoy listening to John Farrell peppered with questions about his former club
Speaking of our former skipper, it seems that the shine has started to come off of his Tick like chin in the eyes of Red Sox fans, and his use of “closer” Andrew Bailey has caused fans to hit a Fever Pitch. Here’s a small sampling of tweets after a Thursday evening BoSox meltdown:
"I see what the Blue Jays meant when they said John Farrell doesn’t learn from his mistakes. #redsox #baileymustgo— DJ Grant (@D_J_Grant) June 21, 2013"
"Seriously i thought john farrell was the right choice for bosox coach bad choice again bailey is bad#needarealcloser#soxfan— William Jeffreys (@MrBillyJ) June 21, 2013"
"I’m 500 miles away and I know Andrew Bailey sucks. What’s John Farrell’s problem?— Bill Cloutier (@BillCloutier) June 21, 2013"
How fun would beating the Red Sox on a couple of blown saves caused by bad bullpen management from John Farrell be? We don’t play them for a week and I’m already giddy with excitement.
Since I’ve already predicted that the Blue Jays are going to win 5 of 6 leading up to this series, I feel that I would be nothing short of Red Sox fan levels of arrogance if I predicted a sweep in Beantown, so I will do the humble thing and admit that the Blue Jays will show some mercy and only manage to take 3 of 4 against the Red Sox, everyone has to have an off day after all.
So to recap I’m predicting the Blue Jays will go 8-2 over this “AL East Gauntlet”, in reality this may be asking too much for a team that is currently on an 8-game winning streak….or maybe not enough? Who knows with this team. All I know is baseball is fun to watch again, and Jose Reyes is going to return to the line up before these games are through, and that is awesome. So in all seriouness just sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride friends.