Blue Jays Wild Card Watch: Toronto's going to need help this weekend

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The Blue Jays do not control their own fate in the playoff race. (Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
The Blue Jays do not control their own fate in the playoff race. (Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Welcome to Blue Jays Wild Card Watch, a daily snapshot of where Toronto stands in relation to its rivals in the playoff race. Each morning we'll briefly recap the previous night's action and tee up what comes next.

The Toronto Blue Jays started the month of September on fire, but seemed to run out of gas over the past 10 days. They'll be hoping that flipping the calendar to October marks the beginning of a new hot streak that culminates with a World Series title.

That goal is a lofty one, as a deflating 6-2 loss to the New York Yankees on Thursday night dropped the Blue Jays three games back of the first wild-card spot, but left them just one game behind the Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners for the second position.

While being on the outside looking in is not where you want to be heading into the final series of the regular season, the Blue Jays do face the American League-worst Baltimore Orioles in front of their home fans at Rogers Centre. It's likely going to take a sweep plus some help on the out-of-town scoreboard for Toronto to sneak into the postseason, but hope is not yet lost.

However, as the Boston Red Sox found out this week, just because you're playing the Orioles doesn't mean you're going to beat the Orioles. And if the Blue Jays only take two of these three games, that means both Boston and Seattle need to go 1-2 or worse in their respective weekend series.

The Blue Jays are sending Steven Matz (3.88 ERA) to the mound on Friday as they look to get back on track, while the Orioles have not yet announced their starter.

Here's what's going on with the aforementioned Red Sox and Mariners, plus the Yankees.

New York Yankees

Last night's result: New York blasted five home runs to win its series against the Blue Jays. The Bronx Bombers beat up on Cy Young favourite Robbie Ray to all but guarantee their spot in the postseason.

Tonight's matchup: The Yankees close their 2021 campaign with a home series against the Tampa Bay Rays. That sounds like a rough matchup, but Tampa has already clinched the AL's best record and the top seed that goes with it. Expect the Rays to work in some rest for their regulars to stay fresh for what they hope is another World Series run. Nestor Cortes (2.85 ERA) starts for New York against Rays lefty Shane McClanahan (3.44 ERA) in the opener.

Boston Red Sox

Last night's result: The Red Sox lost their game and their series to the Orioles, moving them into a tie with the Mariners for the final playoff spot. Boston starter Nick Pivetta couldn't make it through five innings and Garrett Richards was tagged for three runs in relief.

Tonight's matchup: An interleague set with the Washington Nationals is on tap this weekend. Eduardo Rodriguez (4.93 ERA) toes the rubber for the Red Sox against southpaw Josh Rogers (2.73 ERA). There's nothing like closing out your season with a do-or-die series played under National League rules.

Seattle Mariners

Last night's result: Off day

Tonight's matchup: The Mariners are the team everyone loves to doubt, yet here they are, occupying a playoff spot on Oct. 1 thanks to a 9-1 record in their past 10 games. They finish their season by hosting the Los Angeles Angels, with Marco Gonzales (4.00 ERA) drawing the starting assignment opposite Jose Suarez (3.86 ERA) on Friday.

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