MLB playoff push: Can Blue Jays regain momentum down the stretch?

Jamie Campbell and Joe Siddall break down the Toronto Blue Jays' blowout losses in three consecutive games against the New York Yankees and what the Jays have to do to bounce back.

After losing all three games of their series against the New York Yankees by a cumulative score of 43-15, the Toronto Blue Jays are in need of a giant reset button if they’re to approach the post-season with any sort of momentum.

Only, they haven’t got much time as they approach a four-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies starting with a double header Friday afternoon.

They’ve got plenty of wrongs to right — pitching! defence! hitting! — if they’re to fare better when they meet up with the Yankees again for their four-game series against the AL East foe next week.

Here’s a closer look at where they stand in the MLB playoff picture.

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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 Chicago White Sox vs. No. 8 Toronto Blue Jays
No. 2 Tampa Bay Rays 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 Philadelphia Phillies
No. 2 Chicago Cubs vs. No. 7 San Francisco Giants
No. 3 Atlanta Braves vs. No. 6 Cincinnati Reds
No. 4 San Diego Padres vs. No. 5 Miami Marlins

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.

Ben Nicholson-Smith is Sportsnet’s baseball editor. Arden Zwelling is a senior writer. Together, they bring you the most in-depth Blue Jays podcast in the league, covering off all the latest news with opinion and analysis, as well as interviews with other insiders and team members.

In striking distance
In the American League, the Seattle Mariners remain closest to the final seed with a record of 22-28, though being four wins off pace with games winding down makes their post-season hopes extremely slim. Next up are the 22-29 Baltimore Orioles.

Meanwhile, in the National League, the St. Louis Cardinals have fallen out of the playoff picture and are now two games removed from the final wild card spot. Behind them, the Milwaukee Brewers are threatening to make a late push.

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: 96.9 per cent | Blue Jays’ FiveThirtyEight odds: 97 per cent

Mariners’ FanGraphs odds: 1.8 per cent | Mariners’ FiveThirtyEight odds: 2 per cent

Orioles’ FanGraphs odds: 1.1 per cent | Orioles’ FiveThirtyEight odds: <1 per cent Next up
The Blue Jays’ mission to turn things around begins with Robbie Ray, who will hit the mound for the first game of Toronto’s double-header at home against Zach Eflin and the Phillies. Ross Stripling will start Friday’s second game, with Philadelphia countering with Vince Velasquez. Over in Seattle, the Mariners will host the Padres Friday night in the first of that three-game series, while the Orioles will take on Tampa Bay in Baltimore.

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