The wins haven't always been pretty.
Some of them have been downright gnarly.
But the fact remains that the Toronto Blue Jays have been winning more games than they've been losing (barely) and improving their playoff odds day by day.
Fans who have endured the, at times, tough-to-stomach 2023 season may not have much faith in this current iteration of the team to make the playoffs. Nail-biting wins, gut-wrenching losses and disappointment after disappointment have given rise to cynicism that this isn't the Jays' year.
However, FanGraphs' playoff odds still give the Jays a decent chance at being one of the teams left standing after the season ends on October 1. However, the math used to create these odds doesn't have to watch every game and weather the rollercoaster of emotions human observers experience over the course of 162.
With a record of 76-62 and 10.5 games back in the AL East, the Jays have a 58.5 percent probability of making the postseason (meaning they make the playoffs 11,700 times out of 20,000 simulations), according to FanGraphs. This comes merely a week after the team hit their lowest point of the season when they dipped to 38.4 percent.
Before Opening Day, the preseason playoff odds gave the Jays a 72 percent chance of making the postseason. One month into the season, their odds jumped to 82.9 percent. Coming out of the All-Star break, they sat at a modest but promising 70.6 percent.
These peaks and valleys are a good reflection of the season. A season in which the Jays can't ever seem to get a foothold. And just when it looks like they might be on the verge of going on a run, the foothold breaks loose, and they're forced to start climbing up the mountain from a few feet below where they started.
The Blue Jays best shot to make the playoffs is the Wild Card
With less than a month left in the regular season, the Blue Jays remain on the outside looking in. The good news is they sit only 0.5 games behind Texas for the final Wild Card after pulling out an extra-innings squeaker against Oakland.
They're being given a slim-to-non-existent 0.1 percent chance at taking the division over Baltimore or Tampa Bay, so their sights need to be firmly on the Wild Card. FanGraphs' constantly changing odds show them with a 58.5 percent probability of finishing in a Wild Card position.
Here's the current landscape of the Wild Card race, with odds of securing a Wild Card and making the playoffs:
Barring a massive collapse, the Orioles and Rays are all but assured a postseason berth, so the Jays will have to deal with the other Wild Card contenders, hailing from the wild, wild AL West.
The Rangers have a 61.6 percent chance at the playoffs, the Mariners sit at 79.8 percent and the division-leading Astros have a 92.4 percent likelihood of seeing postseason baseball. In the game of musical playoff chairs, there are two seats left for three teams hoping to contend for the World Series.
Speaking of the Fall Classic, it feels a million miles away right now, especially for a team that isn't even in a playoff spot. For those of you curious about where the Jays sit in those odds, unsurprisingly, they're not looking good.
After starting the season with the sixth-best odds at winning it all, at 6.9 percent, Toronto has stumbled to the 10th-best odds at 3.0 percent. This is partly due to their struggles playing consistent baseball but also thanks to the Braves, who have skyrocketed to the top of the leaderboard at 29.7 percent.
As fans, all we can do is hope that the Jays manage to sneak into the playoffs and put our faith in the old sports adage that "anything can happen in the postseason."
Note: Probability and odds are not the same. The numbers discussed here are the probability, or chance, of the outcomes occurring. The term "odds" is used loosely, as these aren't the actual odds of the outcomes.