January 16, 2021

MLB playoff push: Blue Jays open final week of season with rematch vs. Yankees

2 min read
The Toronto Blue Jays halted a six-game losing streak on Sunday, their 6-3 victory over...

The Toronto Blue Jays halted a six-game losing streak on Sunday, their 6-3 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies preventing them from suffering back-to-back series sweeps.

While the Blue Jays’ playoff berth is all but locked up, there’s still plenty on the line as they dig into the final week of the regular season. Four more games against the New York Yankees, who sent them spiralling last week, will tell us a lot about the young team’s ability to adjust, bounce back, and rally for a post-season run.

Here’s a closer look at where they stand in the MLB playoff picture heading into the final week of the season…

If the playoffs began today
The top two teams in each division make the playoffs along with the top remaining two teams from each league for a total of 16 playoff teams. Those 16 teams will then face off in eight best-of-three series that precede the League Division Series.

If the post-season began today, these eight American League teams would qualify:
No. 1 Tampa Bay Rays vs. No. 8 Toronto Blue Jays
No. 2 Chicago White Sox vs. No. 7 Cleveland Indians
No. 3 Oakland Athletics vs. No. 6 Houston Astros
No. 4 Minnesota Twins vs. No. 5 New York Yankees

And these eight National League teams would qualify:
No. 1 Los Angeles Dodgers vs. No. 8 Cincinnati Reds
No. 2 Chicago Cubs vs. No. 7 Philadelphia Phillies
No. 3 Atlanta Braves vs. No. 6 St. Louis Cardinals
No. 4 San Diego Padres vs. No. 5 Miami Marlins

How seeding works in 2020: According to MLB, the top three seeds in each league go to the three division winners in order of record. The next three seeds go to the three teams that finish second in their division, in order of record. The final two seeds will go to the two teams with the next best records, regardless of division.

In striking distance
In the American League, Seattle is closest to the final seed with a record of 23-30 — that’s four wins off-pace of the Blue Jays, giving them a less-than-one per cent chance of getting in. Next up are the Los Angeles Angels with a record of 23-31.

Meanwhile, in the National League, the playoff berths are still very much up for grabs. Milwaukee and San Francisco are closest to the final seed with matching 26-26 records. The Brewers’ three-game series against the Reds will likely determine both clubs’ fates.

Playoff odds report
Objectively speaking, here’s where the Blue Jays stand in relation to their closest adversaries, according to FanGraphs and FiveThirtyEight:

Blue Jays’ FanGraphs odds: 97.9% | Blue Jays’ FiveThirtyEight odds: 98%

Seattle’s FanGraphs odds: 0.9% | Seattle’s FiveThirtyEight odds: 1%

L.A. Angels’ FanGraphs odds: 0.6% | L.A. Angels’ FiveThirtyEight odds: less than 1%

Next up
The Blue Jays’ question for redemption against the Yankees will begin with a healthy Matt Shoemaker on the mound Monday, while New York will counter with Gerrit Cole. Meanwhile, the Mariners will face the Astros and the Angels will take on the Rangers.

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