Could anyone have written this script any better? The Toronto Blue Jays enter the final day of the regular season at home in front of 30,00 fans. With everything on the line, the Jays can at least force a tiebreaker and a potential Game 163.
This is the exact kind of chaos MLB hoped for on the last day of the regular season with a potential four-way tie for the two American League Wild Card spots hanging in the balance, and the Blue Jays could be one of those fateful teams.
Thanks to a 10-1 drubbing over the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday, the Blue Jays reached the 90-win benchmark for the seventh time in franchise history and kept themselves in the playoff conversation for one more day.
The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees currently hold the two AL Wild Card spots, with the Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners just one game back of both teams.
The Blue Jays need to beat Baltimore on Sunday to give themselves a chance. If all the dominos fall into place on Sunday, there will be at least one more day of baseball for Toronto.
Fans have been scoreboard watching all week as four teams still find themselves in the thick of a playoff race with one day left in the schedule. The last day of the season hasn’t been this nutty since 2011 when the Rays and Cardinals clinched 11th hour playoff spots in dramatic fashion.
Despite going into that last game tied for Wild Card spots, the Red Sox and Braves were left on the outside looking in at the end of play on September 28, 2011. That kind of baseball freakiness hasn’t been witnessed … until Sunday, potentially.
With the Blue Jays, Yankees, Red Sox, and Mariners still in play as potential postseason teams, there are many scenarios heading into the final day of the regular season, but these are the most pertinent for the Blue Jays.
Best-case scenario: Blue Jays win, Red Sox, Yankees and Mariners lose (three-way tie)
Considering how roller-coaster this week has been for the Blue Jays, this is the ideal scenario for the team. The Blue Jays need to win and need either the Red Sox or Yankees to lose in order for the Jays to force a tiebreaker.
Now, there’s also an extra-juicy scenario where if both the Red Sox and Yankees lose and the Blue Jays win (and assuming the Mariners don’t factory in somehow), it sets up a Team A, B and C designation for the teams who are tied.
A, B and C teams are determined by combined head-to-head records and those teams get to pick their designations based on the best winning percentages. The Red Sox would get first crack, followed by the Blue Jays and Yankees.
The Red Sox would be fools to choose anything other than to host the Blue Jays in this scenario. If the Blue Jays win, they’re the first Wild Card team. If they lose, they play the Yankees the next day to see who becomes the second Wild Card team.
If there’s a four-way tie for the Wild Card spots, all four teams will face off in a fatal four-way match on WCW vs. NWO World Tour for the N64 to determine the two Wild Card teams. (Okay, not really, but wouldn’t it be cool if they did?)
So-so scenario: Blue Jays win, Red Sox or Yankees lose, Mariners lose (tiebreaker game)
This one is far less complicated, but if the Blue Jays win and either the Red Sox or Yankees lose on Sunday, they’ll tie for the second Wild Card spot.
If it’s the Blue Jays and Red Sox, a tiebreaker game would be played Monday at Fenway Park. If it’s the Blue Jays and Yankees, a tiebreaker game would go Monday at the Rogers Centre.
After the winner of that game goes through the wringer in a tiebreaker game, they win the privilege of playing another win-or-go-home game in the AL Wild Card game.
Worst-case scenario: Blue Jays lose (Jays season ends)
This would be like a dagger through the heart of Blue Jays fans, but if the team loses on Sunday, Toronto’s season is over. There’d be nothing more heartbreaking than losing the last game of the year, but a 90-win season is nothing to be ashamed of.
Toronto only has seven 90+ win seasons in franchise history, and in 1987 they won 96 games and somehow didn’t make the playoffs (thanks, divisional era). But they fact they’ve hung around this long to seal their fate at the last moment… that’s baseball.