Blue Jays: The other teams we’ll be rooting for this month
The Blue Jays largely control their own destiny for the rest of the 2021 season, but their fate also depends on the performance of other teams as well.
There are still five teams in the American League Wild Card race, headlined by the Blue Jays, Yankees, and Red Sox who are in a 3-way tie for the two playoff spots, followed by the A’s and Mariners who are both 4.0 games back of the pace. You can’t rule out the A’s or the Mariners, especially after the way we watched the standings flip in the Blue Jays’ favour of the last week or two, but in all likelihood we’re looking at a three-horse race for the stretch run.
For now I want to focus on what’s coming up for the Red Sox and Yankees, and which teams that Blue Jays fans might find themselves cheering for this month.
I’ll start with the Yankees, who have a bit of a softer stretch in their schedule over the next few days, but finish with a pretty brutal nine-game stretch. Here’s what they have left:
1 vs. Baltimore
3 vs. Cleveland
3 vs. Texas
3 vs. Boston
3 vs. Toronto
3 vs. Tampa Bay
Obviously Blue Jay fans aren’t going to have a problem cheering for their beloved squad from Sept 28-30, especially because those games will be at home at the Rogers Centre. However, I think it’s fair to say that we’ll have to swallow a collective pill and cheer for the Rays over the last three days of the regular season, who have all but locked up first place in the AL East. Looking at the rest, it may not be easy to cheer for the Rangers either, but we’ll probably have to suck it up there too.
Let’s compare what the Red have left in their regular season schedule, keeping in mind that they only have 14 games left to the Blue Jays and Yankees’ 16.
2 vs. Mets
3 vs. Yankees
3 vs. Baltimore
3 vs. Washington
The Red Sox have arguably the easiest schedule of the three top Wild Card contenders, but they also have two less games in hand that could theoretically come back to hurt them. It won’t be hard for Blue Jays fans to get behind cheering for the Mets, Orioles, and Nationals, as none of them appear to factor into the postseason race this season, other than maybe an epic finish for the Mets.
The most intriguing three games left on both the Yankees and Red Sox schedule is when they play each other from Sept 24-26. It’ll be late enough in the season by then that each team could have a chance to bury the other, which would obviously help the Blue Jays’ playoff cause. I never like cheering for either team under any circumstances, but I may have to pick a side depending on their respective schedules going leading up to that three-game set.
As I said before, the Blue Jays themselves will be the most important factor in whether or not they see playoff baseball in 2021. However, there’s no denying that it’s not entirely in their hands, and I’m sure that will lead to a lot of scoreboard watching in Canada for the rest of the month.