9/30 update: Toronto left no doubt in its series opener against the Rays on Friday night, scoring in seven of the first eight innings en route to a commanding 11-4 victory over a Tampa team whose postseason fate is already secure. Both the Astros and Mariners won as well, but the Jays are in control of their own destiny here: Friday’s win whittled their magic number for the fifth seed and second Wild Card spot down to two — and their magic number for a spot in the playoffs down to just one. If Toronto wins again tonight — or if the D-backs beat the Astros in Arizona — the Jays can celebrate, even if they’re still at risk of dropping down to the sixth seed by virtue of losing the head-to-head tiebreaker with Houston.
Hard as it is to believe, we’ve officially reached the final weekend of the 2023 MLB regular season. Five of the league’s six divisional races have been decided, but there’s still plenty to be settled over the next few days — especially in the AL Wild Card picture, where the Toronto Blue Jays lead a pack of three teams competing for two remaining spots. Toronto avoided a home sweep at the hands of the Yankees with a win on Thursday, and now they’ll welcome Tampa Bay to town to close the season as they look to wrap up the second Wild Card berth. Let’s take a look at where Toronto stands with a three days left in the season and their magic number for clinching a postseason berth.
Blue Jays’ magic number
Toronto’s win on Thursday — largely thanks to Chris Bassitt’s 12 Ks over seven shutout innings — was a huge, huge step for the Jays. The victory dropped the team’s magic number for a Wild Card berth to two, meaning any combination of two Toronto victories or Seattle Mariners losses will see the Jays reach October. If Toronto and Seattle finish tied, however, the Mariners would edge ahead of them, while the Blue Jays have the head-to-head tiebreaker with Houston by virtue of winning the season series.
The Jays’ easiest path is to win at least two of their next three games, which would guarantee their Wild Card spot. But if they go, say, 1-2 against Tampa, the M’s could sneak in with a sweep of the Rangers this weekend.
AL Wild Card standings
4. Seattle Mariners (87-73), 1.0 GB