It is no secret that the Toronto Blue Jays have been on a hot streak as of late, winning 14 of their last 16 games and finding themselves tied for the Wild Card spot with the Boston Red Sox while the New York Yankees, Seattle Mariners, and Oakland Athletics are currently hot on their tail.
This was a bit of a surprise for Blue Jays fans, as many believed their playoff dreams were gone during last month’s struggles but went on an unprecedented run that saw the club claw their way into postseason contention, led by the starting rotation and an offensive onslaught from almost the entire lineup.
While this is great to see and feels even better considering they just won their most recent series against the Tampa Bay Rays, the Blue Jays need to continue their winning ways as the Minnesota Twins come to town this weekend.
The Blue Jays start a three-game series against the Minnesota Twins this weekend in a situation where the club needs to continue winning if they want to make the postseason.
With the club getting an off day tomorrow, the Twins come for a three-game series riding a 4-6 record in their last ten games and have struggled mightily this season.
Thought to be a potential contender in AL Central this year, the Twins have been dealt some injuries to key members like Kenta Maeda and Byron Buxton (who returned in late August) as well as poor performances from other members like Miguel Sano, Josh Donaldson, Andrelton Simmons, and Max Kepler.
Factor in the club traded away starter Jose Berrios to the Jays and Nelson Cruz to the Tampa Bay Rays along with trading J.A. Happ and Hansel Robles, the Twins added some high-level prospects to their system while not fully embracing a rebuild. They are currently in last place in the AL Central and are at this point playing spoiler rather than contending.
The two teams have not faced each other this season and the Blue Jays are scheduled to send Hyun Jin Ryu, Steven Matz, and Alek Manoah to the mound this weekend. Opposite the Blue Jays is Michael Pineda and rookie Bailey Ober as of right now with no Sunday starter currently scheduled. Pineda will be the toughest test for the Jays, as the right-hander is the opposing club’s top pitcher at the moment with a 3.87 ERA through 19 outings with 79 strikeouts.
The key to the Blue Jays winning this weekend is to keep up their hitting ways, evident by their strong showing this past weekend against the Baltimore Orioles and appearing in games one and three against the Rays. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is currently on Triple Crown and MVP watch while Marcus Semien, Teoscar Hernandez, and Bo Bichette continue to produce at the top of the lineup. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Alejandro Kirk are also producing as of late and the club is just gelling well as we enter the later part of the season.
The Jays rotation has also been pitching well as of late although both Ryu and Matz did give up some runs against Baltimore, so a strong bounce-back start from both southpaws would go a long way to helping the Jays stay in the Wild Card hunt. Manoah continues to be dominant and it should be fun seeing him pitch in front of the Rogers Centre again.
These games seem like easy wins on paper and the Blue Jays should hopefully notch a few W’s in the record before heading down south to face Tampa again and then the Twins in Minnesota. The Wild Card is becoming a tight race and the club cannot afford to drop games against opponents who appear to be playing spoiler.