Trying something new again with the Assorted Weekend Thoughts this week: it’ll come at you as a series of smaller posts on a mostly-single topic (i.e. what normally would have gone under one sub-heading), rather than one big slog through it all that I don’t publish until 4:45 PM. Let’s see how this works, shall we? (Yes, we’ll get to the call-ups).
Talking about the race for a playoff spot, with respect to the 2014 Toronto Blue Jays, isn’t entirely absurd just yet, but it sure is close. However, after a disappointing start to the weekend series, the Jays continued to show some fight — or whatever silly thing you want to call it — and find themselves a still-not-technically-impossible 5.5 games back of the second Wild Card.
Depending on how you want to look at it, the schedule either helps or hurts them.
The Jays’ next twelve games are against sub-.500 teams — yay! — but nine of those are against the Rays and Red Sox, including the series that begins tonight in Tampa, where the club hasn’t won a series since around the time Kim Campbell was Prime Minister, I’m pretty sure. Having the Cubs come in for three next week should be favourable, but… it’s baseball. Anything can happen.
Looking at the schedules of the laundry list of teams the Jays are chasing produces a similar effect. Cleveland, Detroit, Kansas City, Seattle, and the Yankees all play each other quite a bit before the season comes to a close. For example: Cleveland has six against Detroit (three home, three away), and three in which they’ll host the Royals (plus they need to finish off a suspended game from Sunday, in which Kansas City is down 4-2 in the top of the 10th). Detroit has those six with Cleveland, plus six more (three home, three away) with the Royals. Kansas City has the aforementioned nine games with their division rivals, plus three this weekend in Yankee Stadium, as well.
In addition to hosting the Royals for three, the Yankees get the Jays for four, plus eight against a tough Orioles club, with the rest of their schedule featuring Rays and Red Sox clubs who will be loath help their rivals’ playoff chances. Among the teams still in the race the Mariners only face the Jays, visiting Rogers Centre later this month, but they have their work cut out for them with twelve games left against very strong Angels and A’s clubs.
There is a lot of opportunity for the Jays’ opponents to tread water a bit as they beat up each other, but you’d kind of have to think that in reality it’s more likely one team or another will separate themselves and only make the Jays’ task harder. And that the club’s best hope is to, first and foremost, worry about themselves.
Here’s what the schedule for this month looks like:
@ Rays x3, @ Red Sox x3, vs. Cubs x3, vs. Rays x3, @ Orioles x3, @ Yankees x4, vs. Mariners x4, vs. Orioles x3.
Not a whole lot of time left. Would love to see where they stand after sweeping the Rays in Tampa, though, eh?