The 2023 Blue Jays season is down to the wire - time to bark with the big dogs or get off the porch

With the final 19 games of the regular season all against better teams than Colorado, Oakland and Kansas City, the Toronto Blue Jays have a chance to finally shine in some key series and book another postseason ticket.
Kansas City Royals v Toronto Blue Jays
Kansas City Royals v Toronto Blue Jays / Vaughn Ridley/GettyImages

The Jays are playing meaningful baseball again this September for a 4th consecutive season in their current competitive window. Add in a dash of Davis Schneider mustachioed magic, and Toronto’s postseason hopes are high, with the team currently a game up on Seattle for the second wild card, and 1.5 games up on Texas, who they’ll host for a four games series starting Monday.

After going 10-5 in their previous 15 games against sub-.500 teams, the final 19 games of the season all come against better teams. The Blue Jays have struggled to a 38-42 record versus teams with a winning record this season; they’ve also struggled mightily against AL East opponents, with a 12-25 stain on an otherwise solid season.

The final playoff push starts with a 4-game home series against the Texas Rangers. It will be a playoff atmosphere at Rogers Centre given the recent history, with the Jays taking the 2015 ALDS over Texas, winning that series 3-2 after Jose Bautista's epic bat flip following a decisive three-run homer in Game 5; and, again in 2016 with a 3-0 ALDS win over the Rangers. A series win here might just guarantee more postseason baseball for Toronto. Texas holds a 2-1 season series lead.

But the schedule makers must also be pleased with how things will work out in the AL East after that; Toronto finishes the regular season with 15 straight against AL East rivals. They start the intra-division games with three at home against the Red Sox, then play six games each against the Yankees and Tampa Bay in away and then home series.

Boston is 7.5 games back of Toronto, but holds a 7-3 edge in the season series. New York is 9.0 games back of the Blue Jays, and they hold a 4-3 advantage head-to-head this year. Tampa has a 7.5 game lead over Toronto in the wild card standings, plus a 4-3 season series edge.

Which is to say that a lot could change over the final three weeks of the regular season, with lots of head-to-head matchups that will lead to one game swings in the wild card race with each win or loss.

Also remember the Jays do not want to finish the regular season tied in the standings with the Mariners for the final wild card; even though they split the season series 3-3, Seattle holds the wild card tiebreaker over Toronto by virtue of a better intra-division record at 24-12 over the AL West.

With the return of Bo Bichette, and both Matt Chapman and Erik Swanson eligible to return off the 10-day IL, the Jays have the pieces in place to win. The question is, are they ready to bark with the big dogs?