MLB playoff push: Blue Jays have chance to lock up playoff berth vs. Yankees

Jamie Campbell, Joe Siddall and John Axford break down what went wrong for the Toronto Blue Jays in another blowout loss to the New York Yankees.

After a decisive victory over the New York Yankees on Monday, the Toronto Blue Jays suffered a familiar fate against their divisional foes one night later. The lopsided 12-1 loss served as a rough reminder of last week’s dismal outings, which sent the Blue Jays spiralling with a six-game losing streak that saw them fall back down to the American League’s final wild-card spot.

Two more matchups against the Yankees, who officially punched their ticket to the post-season earlier this week, bring two more opportunities for adjustments — and two more chances for Toronto to officially lock up that playoff spot that has had them pencilled in for a weeks now.

They can officially clinch a playoff spot Wednesday night with a victory over the Yankees, but only if the Angels lose to the Padres and the Mariners lose to Astros.

Here’s a closer look at where they stand in the MLB playoff picture as they continue down the stretch…

If the playoffs began today
The top two teams in each division make the playoffs along with the top remaining two teams from each league for a total of 16 playoff teams. Those 16 teams will then face off in eight best-of-three series that precede the League Division Series.

If the post-season began today, these eight American League teams would qualify:
No. 1 Tampa Bay Rays vs. No. 8 Toronto Blue Jays
No. 2 Chicago White Sox vs. No. 7 Cleveland Indians
No. 3 Oakland Athletics vs. No. 6 Houston Astros
No. 4 Minnesota Twins vs. No. 5 New York Yankees

And these eight National League teams would qualify:
No. 1 Los Angeles Dodgers vs. No. 8 Milwaukee Brewers
No. 2 Atlanta Braves vs. No. 7 Cincinnati Reds
No. 3 Chicago Cubs vs. No. 6 Miami Marlins
No. 4 San Diego Padres vs. No. 5 St. Louis Cardinals

How seeding works in 2020: According to MLB, the top three seeds in each league go to the three division winners in order of record. The next three seeds go to the three teams that finish second in their division, in order of record. The final two seeds will go to the two teams with the next best records, regardless of division.

In striking distance
In the American League, the L.A. Angels are closest to the final seed with a record of 25-31, but their hopes are hanging by a thread. A win against the Padres will keep them alive. The same goes for the 24-31 Mariners, who also have some control over the Blue Jays’ playoff fate.

Meanwhile, in the National League, the Giants are sitting at 27-27 — the same record as the Brewers, and the same win percentage as the 28-28 Reds in the first wild card slot. The Philadelphia Phillies are just a few percentage points behind, leaving no room for error.

Playoff odds report
Objectively speaking, here’s where the Blue Jays stand in relation to their closest adversaries, according to FanGraphs and FiveThirtyEight:

Blue Jays’ FanGraphs odds: 99% | Blue Jays’ FiveThirtyEight odds: more than 99%

Angels’ FanGraphs odds: 0.9% | Angels’ FiveThirtyEight odds: less than 1%

Mariners’ FanGraphs odds: 0.3% | Mariners’ FiveThirtyEight odds: less than 1%

Next up
The Blue Jays will send Robbie Ray to the mound Wednesday evening while the Yankees will counter with Masahiro Tanaka. Meanwhile, Jays fans will be watching closely as the Angels face the Padres in their must-win matchup and the Mariners take on the Astros in theirs.

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