The Runner Sports

Toronto Blue Jays Still Have Shot At Making The Playoffs

In so many ways, it’s amazing how the Toronto Blue Jays are just four games behind of the Los Angeles Angels for the second AL Wild Card spot. Heck, being 5.5 behind the New York Yankees for the right to host the Wild Card game isn’t even that bad, either.

The Blue Jays started off 2017 on a disastrous note, winning just one of their first 10 games. Core players like Josh Donaldson, Aaron Sanchez, J.A. Happ, Kendrys Morales, Russell Martin, and Troy Tulowitzki have all spent significant time on the DL. Sanchez — the defending ERA champion — has made just eight starts this season.

Toronto ranks just 25th in runs scored and 19th in team ERA, so it’s not hard to understand why they’ve failed to reach the .500 mark all season long. With a terrible offense and a mediocre yet unhealthy rotation for most of 2017, it would appear that this just hasn’t been their year.

But a recent surge by the Blue Jays — along with the American League being less competitive this year — suddenly provides a glimmer of hope that playoff baseball can return to Canada for the third-straight year.

Fresh off a series win against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Toronto has gone 12-7 since being swept by the Cleveland Indians three weeks ago. The faltering Yankees are no sure-bet to make the playoffs, and the Angels sit at just 61-58 as they barely hold onto the second Wild Card spot.

The Jays also have plenty of games that give them the opportunity to gain ground on the teams ahead of them. They have seven games against the Minnesota Twins (who sit half a game behind the Angels), and six with the Yankees.

FanGraphs gives Toronto just a 5.7 percent chance of making the playoffs, but anything is possible in this year’s AL Wild Card race. With the two leaders barely above .500, the Jays certainly have a chance to go on a streak and capture one of the two tickets to the one-game elimination contest.

Marco Estrada and Happ have regained their 2016 forms as near-elite starters. The offense is finally waking up, having scored at least five runs in nine of their past 15 games.

And with the Jays healthier than they’ve been for most of the season, all the pieces are there for them to sustain their current momentum. Should they avoid any more big bumps in the road, the Blue Jays just might find a way to sneak into the postseason once again.

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Alex Hoegler

I'm a graduate of the journalism program at Langara College in Vancouver, B.C.

I've been an avid sports fan since I was seven years of age. A lifelong follower of the Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Blue Jays, my passion is to deliver news through writings while building bridges with other sports fans.
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