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.
Toronto Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo claimed the data-stealing incident with Kevin Kiermaier was a thing of the past, but that didn't seem to be true after Ryan Borucki plunked the Tampa Bay Rays outfielder late in Wednesday's blowout loss.
Kiermaier is certain the beaning was intentional but Borucki claims it wasn't. Borucki was ejected from the contest and it would be a surprise if he didn't face additional discipline given the context around the situation. Should the Blue Jays make the postseason and proceed to win the wild-card game, the Rays would likely be their opponent in the ALDS. Kiermaier would love that to be the case.
The Blue Jays will have to quickly move on from the drama as they begin a four-game set with the Minnesota Twins on Thursday night. Here's how the wild-card race looks heading into the series:
Toronto took two out of three games against Minnesota at Rogers Centre last weekend, and winning at least three of four has to be the goal here.
Steven Matz (3.84 ERA) draws the start for the Blue Jays on Thursday against the Twins' Michael Pineda (3.74 ERA) and Montoyo will need some length out of the southpaw after Wednesday's bullpen-day debacle. A win would draw the Jays level with the New York Yankees in the standings.
Here's a look at what's happening with the other teams in contention for wild-card spots.
Boston Red Sox
Last night's result: The Red Sox clobbered Taijuan Walker and cruised past the Mets 12-5 for their seventh consecutive victory. With Chris Sale healthy and pitching effectively, Boston is looking like a much more formidable threat in a wild-card game.
Tonight's matchup: Off day before a weekend matchup with the rival Yankees.
New York Yankees
Last night's result: New York used a four-run eighth inning to complete the sweep of the Rangers. Corey Kluber couldn't make it through five innings but the Yankees bullpen once again stepped up with 4.2 frames of no-hit, shutout relief.
Tonight's matchup: Off day before a weekend matchup with the rival Red Sox.
Last night's result: The Mariners continued their climb up the standings by dispatching the Athletics for a third straight night. Seattle's pitching held the Oakland bats to just four hits in the 4-1 win.
Tonight's matchup: The Mariners look to complete the four-game sweep at Oakland Coliseum and remain ahead of the A's in the standings. Struggling lefty Yusei Kikuchi (4.32 ERA) toes the rubber for the Mariners while the Athletics will be hoping the emotional return of Chris Bassitt (3.22 ERA) sparks the club. Bassitt is miraculously back on the mound just five weeks after being hit in the face by a 100-mph line drive.
See Mariners section.
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