How the Blue Jays can clinch a playoff spot: Magic number on Mariners is one

Jon Morosi joins Jamie Campbell to break down the AL and NL Wild Card races should the Blue Jays lose to the Rays today, with the Mariners surging at the perfect time, the Diamondbacks and Astros duel, and the Marlins with a magic number of one.

Win and they’re in.

It’s that simple for the Toronto Blue Jays now that they’ve won a couple games in a row.

After two shutout losses to open their final homestand of the season against the New York Yankees, the Blue Jays have bounced back with two wins in a row.

Here’s a look at how the Blue Jays (89-71) can wrap up a playoff spot over the final weekend of the season.

The Easiest Path

If the Blue Jays win one of their final two games against the visiting Tampa Bay Rays this weekend, they’re going to the playoffs for the second year in a row.

The first chance comes Saturday (3 p.m. ET / 12 p.m. PT, Sportsnet, Sportsnet+). Left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu (3-3, 3.31 ERA) gets the start for the Blue Jays, while right-hander Shawn Armstrong (1-0, 1.41 ERA), normally a reliever, starts for Tampa.

They also go to the playoffs if the Seattle Mariners (87-73) lose one of their final two games to the Texas Rangers (89-71). Seattle has won the first two games of that series to keep its playoff hopes alive, with the third game on Saturday at 7:15 p.m. ET / 4:15 p.m. (Sportsnet, Sportsnet+).

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The Mariners have ace right-hander Luis Castillo (14-8, 3.20 ERA) starting against lefty Andrew Heaney (10-6, 4.28 ERA).

The Houston Astros (88-72) wrap up their season with two road games against the Arizona Diamondbacks, who need one more win to nail down a National League wild-card spot. Houston is one game behind the Blue Jays. Saturday’s game starts at 8:10 p.m. ET / 5:10 p.m. PT (Sportsnet 360, Sportsnet+).

Justin Verlander (14-8, 3.32 ERA) starts for Houston, while Merrill Kelly (12-7, 3.38 ERA) is on the mound for the Diamondbacks, who lost 2-1 to the Astros on Friday.

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The Rays (97-63) have zero to play for this weekend as the Baltimore Orioles clinched the AL East on Thursday with a 2-0 win over the Boston Red Sox. The Rays will host a wild-card series starting Tuesday, with the Blue Jays their likeliest opponent.

Who will win the AL West?

The Rangers lead the AL West and have a magic number of two on the Astros (87-72) to take that crown.

If Houston and Texas tie, the Astros hold the tiebreaker.

The Mariners can win the AL West with two wins over Texas and one Houston win over Arizona.

What if the Blue Jays don’t hit their magic number of one against the Mariners?

Here’s where it gets tricky. does an excellent job of laying out three- or four-way tie scenarios.

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A nightmare scenario for Toronto would see the Mariners sweep Texas, Houston win one of its last two against Arizona and the Blue Jays lose their last two games.

That would put all four teams at 89 wins — and tiebreakers would eliminate the Blue Jays.

If the Astros overtake the Rangers for the AL West title and the Blue Jays, Mariners and Texas finish with the same number of wins, Toronto also is out.

Two-Way Ties

The Blue Jays lose a tiebreaker with the Mariners or Texas, but win a tiebreaker with Houston.

Sunday Schedule

If the Blue Jays’ quest goes down to the final game of the season, all MLB games start between 3:05 p.m. ET and 3:15 p.m. ET.

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