Blue Jays scoreboard watching: Rough night for Toronto in AL wild-card standings
Welcome to Blue Jays Scoreboard Watching, a regular look at how Toronto is faring in relation to its wild-card rivals. Here we'll provide an update on the standings, recap what each team did the night before and look ahead to their next matchup. We're excluding the Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox for now, but they could appear in future versions of this article if they get back within striking distance.
The Toronto Blue Jays failed to complete a three-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday as starting pitcher Mitch White was pounded for six runs in 4.2 innings en route to a 7-5 defeat.
With the loss, the Blue Jays wrapped up a disappointing homestand that saw them go 2-4 against the Cubs and Los Angeles Angels — two opponents well under .500. Toronto's hold on a playoff spot is once again tenuous, with its cushion down to two games following the Baltimore Orioles' victory. The Tampa Bay Rays and Seattle Mariners were also victorious to inch further ahead in the race for the top wild-card seed.
Toronto has an off day on Thursday before embarking on what could be a season-defining road trip. The Blue Jays play three games against the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates, then take on the Orioles in a four-game set. They'll wrap up the trip with three contests against the middling Texas Rangers. These are all very winnable games, so if the Blue Jays can take care of business they'll be able to give themselves some breathing room in the standings.
Here's how the other teams in the mix for wild-card spots did last night and what's on deck.
Tampa Bay Rays
Last night's result: The Rays edged the in-state rival Miami Marlins 2-1 in extra innings. Manuel Margot came through with a clutch single while Rays pitchers limited the Marlins to just five hits. The victory was Tampa's third in a row and eighth in its last 10 games.
What's next: Off day before a weekend series at home against the New York Yankees.
Last night's result: Abraham Toro hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the seventh inning as the Mariners defeated the Detroit Tigers 5-3 for their fifth win in six games. The victory made manager Scott Servais a winner in his 1,000th game with Seattle.
What's next: The Mariners finish up their series with the Tigers looking for a sweep. Seattle sends Logan Gilbert (10-5, 3.49 ERA) to the mound against Eduardo Rodriguez (3-3, 3.60 ERA).
Last night's result: Prized prospect Gunnar Henderson hit a home run in his first MLB game as Baltimore shut out the Guardians 4-0. Jordan Lyles pitched a gem, limiting Cleveland to four hits over 6.2 innings.
What's next: Baltimore and Cleveland wrap up their three-game series with a rubber match. Kyle Bradish (2-5, 5.63 ERA) goes up against Guardians ace Shane Bieber (8-7, 3.02 ERA).
Last night's result: Cleveland fell at home to the Orioles. Amed Rosario and Jose Ramirez each had a pair of hits but no one else in the lineup could muster much off the Baltimore pitching staff. The Guardians' lead over the Twins in the AL Central stands at 1.5 games.
What's next: See Orioles section.
Last night's result: Xander Bogaerts hit a grand slam to cap a five-run third inning as the Boston Red Sox clipped the Twins 6-5. Minnesota made things interesting and put the tying run at second base in the ninth, but Carlos Correa hit into a double play to end the game.
What's next: Off day ahead of a weekend set against the White Sox in Chicago.