Currently, the Blue Jays sit holding the first Wild Card spot. The team that was behind them? The Angels. But after the first two games of their weekend series in LA, the Blue Jays have outscored the Angels 24-5 and have removed the Angels from their Wild Card spot, opening the door for the Texas Rangers. But, the blue birds are not concerned with Wild Card berths. No, sir. They want the division. They want the New York Yankees. And after drumming the Angels, they now sit 0.5 games out of that AL East pennant.
All of this excitement is putting an emphasis on games late into the season, which is a feeling that is somewhat foreign in Blue Jays Land. Can we really be thinking about playoff baseball? It’s been 22 years since we have even a sniff this late into a season. As the calendar looks to be heading into the final month of the season, the odds seem to be in the Blue Jays’ favor.
According to Fangraphs.com, the Blue Jays wake up this morning with a 93.7% chance of making the playoffs, either through the Wild Card or by winning the division. Hello! But, wait. It gets better. Fangraphs shows their chances of success in different scenarios as follows:
Toronto Blue Jays
Winning the Division: 47.3%
Winning a Wild Card spot: 46.4%
Playoff Chances: 93.7%
Making the Divisional Series: 72.1%
Winning the Divisional Series and moving on to the Championship series: 38.6%
Winning the Championship Series and moving on to the World Series: 20.6%
Winning the World Series: 10.3%
Right now, the AL East is down to a two team race. The Yankees and Blue Jays are separated by only half a game. That means an off day for one team and a win for the other could create a tie. A win or a loss on either side and they could flip flop. That’s how close it is. And, they still have 7 games remaining against each other in September. A lot can happen in the remaining games. That is why manager John Gibbons stays calm and cool and says “There is still lots of baseball left”. It is the same reason why the players themselves are not getting ahead of themselves and have taken on a very business like approach.
Nothing is guaranteed. And, yet, they have a 97.3% chance of playoff glory. How that takes place remains to be seen. Being neck and neck with the Yankees and having so many games left means that this could go either way. It looks like a good bet they’ll make the playoffs, but it is not very clear which spot they’ll occupy. Blue Jays fans might like their chances against the Yankees knowing that they’re 8-3 against the Bronx Bombers this season. They’ve played them well this year.
Others may not be so confident given the number of games remaining against divisional rivals. In September, the Blue Jays play 22 times against the AL East, including the Yankees. You can see why the AL East is not ready to be decided.
What is more interesting, though, is the odds of making a deep run. Many Blue Jays fans would not be satisfied with just making the playoffs. We’ve waited far too long for that. We want it all. And, after making big moves this summer, anything less might be a disappointment. In the AL, the Blue Jays have the 4th highest percentage of winning the divisional series. Granted, they are basically tied with the Yankees at just 0.2% behind. They have 4th highest chance of winning the championship series, again just 0.1% behind the Yankees.
But, once you get past this and look at the World Series odds, the Blue Jays’ chances look better. August is not even over so it is difficult to project that far away. But, as we sit here today, they have the 2nd best chance in the AL (10.3%) of winning it all. Kansas City sits at a 10.8% and Los Angeles is looking at the best chance of being the last team standing at a cool 20%.
So, Canada’s only club looks to be all but guaranteed a spot in October. Before you start camping out for a good spot on the parade route, you should remember that it is, in fact, not even the end of August. But, while so much can happen, it looks as though it will be happening in favor of the Blue Jays. They are in the middle of a dog fight with the Yankees for the division lead. They’ve already erased an 8 game deficit in short order. All that is left is for them to control their own destiny. Keep winning and they could be in good shape to make a deep playoff run. Somebody pinch me!
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