Welcome to Blue Jays Scoreboard Watching, a regular look at how Toronto is faring in relation to its playoff rivals. Here we'll provide an update on the standings, recap what each team did in its most recent outing and look ahead to their next matchup.
The Toronto Blue Jays took a huge step toward clinching home-field advantage in the American League wild-card series on Sunday thanks to their 6-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox and some help on the out-of-town scoreboard.
Toronto can finish no worse than second in the wild-card race and saw its magic number to secure the top spot reduced to two thanks to a Seattle Mariners loss. The Blue Jays are now officially on the Houston Astros' side of the AL bracket should they advance past the first round.
Teoscar Hernandez crushed two home runs to power the Blue Jays to the sweep and finish off a dominant year against the Red Sox. Toronto went a whopping 16-3 against Boston in 2022, outscoring them 125-55 along the way.
Sunday's victory was not without drama, though, as star pitcher Kevin Gausman left the game after three innings due to a cut on the middle finger of his throwing hand. Both Gausman and interim manager John Schneider downplayed the severity of the injury and indicated he should be available whenever Toronto needs him in the wild-card round.
Here's how the standings look after Sunday's games:
Today's result: The Oakland Athletics roughed up Robbie Ray for six runs as the Mariners failed to complete the sweep. Right-hander James Kaprielian held Seattle to one hit over six innings as Oakland cruised to a 10-3 win and dealt its AL West rival a big blow in the race for the top wild-card spot.
What's next: The Mariners welcome the Detroit Tigers for a four-game series beginning Monday. George Kirby (8-4, 3.21 ERA) takes the mound for Seattle while Detroit turns to Bryan Garcia (1-0, 3.29 ERA). The Tigers have been a major disappointment this season but they're playing well down the stretch with an 8-2 record in their past 10 contests.
Tampa Bay Rays
Today's result: The Rays fell four games behind the Blue Jays after losing 3-1 to the Astros. Rookie Jeremy Pena hit an early two-run homer then drove in an insurance run late to account for all of Houston's offence. Astros starter Luis Garcia pitched six sparkling innings to out-duel Corey Kluber.
What's next: Tampa heads to Boston on Monday to open its final series of the regular season. Tyler Glasnow (0-0, 3.00 ERA) gets the ball for the Rays in just his second appearance of the season. Glasnow has the potential to be a major weapon in the playoffs as he returns from Tommy John surgery. The Red Sox counter with veteran southpaw Rich Hill (8-7, 4.41 ERA).
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