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.
Tuesday was a roller coaster day for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Before their game even got underway, it came to light that Tampa Bay Rays outfielder picked up a card during Monday's contest that contained the Blue Jays' pitching plans and refused to give it back. The scandal sparked outrage on social media and became a major talking point during the broadcast.
Tampa manager Kevin Cash has since apologized for the incident and Charlie Montoyo called it "agua under the bridge."
Between the lines, Toronto walked away with a gut-wrenching 4-2 victory despite issuing a whopping 11 walks in the contest. Closer Jordan Romano stranded the bases loaded in the ninth inning as the Blue Jays evened up their series with the Rays at one game apiece. With the win, here's where the Jays currently stand in the wild-card race.
The Blue Jays are opting for a bullpen day in the rubber match on Wednesday afternoon, with Ross Stripling (4.50 ERA) expected to log multiple innings behind opener Julian Merryweather. On the other side, the Rays are sending 21-year-old Luis Patino (4.73 ERA) to the bump.
Now let's check in with the other AL playoff hopefuls.
Last night's result: After falling behind 2-0, the Red Sox eventually solved former Blue Jay Marcus Stroman and jumped on him for four runs in an eventual 6-3 victory over the New York Mets. Boston has won six in a row and enjoys a favourable schedule the rest of the way.
Tonight's matchup: Boston and New York conclude their two-game interleague set at Fenway Park. Another ex-Blue Jay toes the rubber for the Mets in Taijuan Walker (4.27 ERA), while undefeated ace Chris Sale (2.40 ERA) goes for the home side.
Last night's result: The Yankees' biggest bats came through as Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and Joey Gallo all homered in an easy win over the Texas Rangers. Luis Severino made his first MLB appearance since the 2019 playoffs and logged two scoreless innings of relief. He could be a major weapon for the Yankees down the stretch.
Tonight's matchup: The Yankees go for the sweep in the Bronx. Corey Kluber (3.68 ERA) sports the pinstripes against his former club, and southpaw Taylor Hearn (4.52 ERA) takes the mound for Texas.
Last night's result: The Mariners won their second consecutive game against the rival Athletics and their third straight game overall. The bullpen followed an effective Marco Gonzales with three scoreless frames to secure the 5-2 victory.
Tonight's matchup: Oakland and Seattle resume their crucial four-game set with both teams tied in the standings — three games back of the Blue Jays for the final AL playoff spot. Mariners starter Chris Flexen (3.66 ERA) opposes Athletics lefty Cole Irvin (3.94 ERA).
See Mariners section.
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