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Can the Blue Jays maintain their lead in the AL Wildcard race?

With less than two months left in baseball’s regular season, the various MLB playoff races become more and more interesting as the series progresses. This week in particular will be set as an important week in the American League Wildcard Standings.

The Toronto Blue Jays currently hold the top wildcard spot in the AL, half a game ahead of the Seattle Mariners despite one win less.

Toronto haven’t won in over two weeks, losing the weekend’s series to Cleveland by a score of 16-4 overall and dropping two of their three games. The team is expected to bring George Springer back into the lineup following his recent stint at IL, which could help the team regain its form.

Blue Jays pitcher Kevin Gaussman said after Sunday’s loss, “Obviously we’re not playing the best baseball right now, but the Orioles are going into a new series.” We need to realize that we shouldn’t dwell too much on this time, we’re putting ourselves in a good place right now, keep your head down, focus on yourself, focus less on what’s going on in the league You have to make sure you don’t overdo it.”

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the AL’s wildcard races and this week’s highlights.

When the postseason starts today…
No.1 Houston Astros (Goodbye)

2. New York Yankees (Goodbye)

No.3 Cleveland Guardians vs. No.6 Tampa Bay Rays

No. 4 Toronto Blue Jays vs. No. 5 Seattle Mariners

Note that MLB has introduced a new 12-team format for the 2022 postseason. Six AL and six NL teams will qualify for easy bracket-style playoffs. The top two seeds will bid farewells in the opening round. The 1st seed will play the 4th-5th winner and the 2nd seed will play the 3rd-6th winner in the second round.

Right next door…
The Orioles, Twins and White Sox are all within 2.0 games of the Rays for the final AL wildcard spot. Baltimore is 8-4, Minnesota is his 5-7, and Chicago is 8-6.

Chicago swept the Tigers over the weekend and hopes to keep that momentum going in a four-game home series against Houston that starts Monday. Minnesota is about to enter his stretch of seven games home against the Royals and Rangers, where he has a combined record of 99 wins and 131 losses this season. Meanwhile, Baltimore is gearing up for his three-game road trip series in Toronto to face the Blue Jays team, who won back-to-back wins just a week before him.

Playoff Odds Report…
Here’s what FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference predict as of Monday morning when it comes to playoff odds between AL teams battling for a wildcard spot…

Toronto Fungraf Odds: 91.5% | Toronto Baseball Reference Odds: 75.7%

Cleveland’s FanGraphs odds: 62.5% | Cleveland Baseball Reference odds: 65.2%

FanGraphs odds for Seattle: 85.5% | Baseball reference odds for Seattle: 85.2%

Tampa Bay Fungraf Odds: 52.6% | Tampa Bay Baseball Reference Odds: 47.1%

Baltimore Fangraph Odds: 3.6% | Baltimore Baseball Reference Odds: 41.7%

Minnesota Fungraf Odds: 40.5% | Minnesota Baseball Reference Odds: 37.3%

Chicago Fungraf Odds: 46.0% | Chicago Baseball Reference Odds: 40.1%

Boston Fungraf Odds: 17.6% | Boston Baseball Reference Odds: 7.2%

Featured Game/Series This Week…
bar@toll: As previously mentioned, the Blue Jays and Orioles will start three games Monday night in Toronto with struggling Yusei Kikuchi against Kyle Bradish. Each game in this series can be viewed on Sportsnet. The Blue Jays didn’t do well against teams over . 500 this season. After this series, Toronto will start his series four games with the Yankees, and Baltimore will end his week at home with the Red Sox.

TB@NYY: The Rays have struggled against the Yankees this season, going 3-7 in 10 games. Tampa Bay has been swept in the recent road series against New York this season with him going 25-31 on the road. His first two bouts in this series can be seen on Sportsnet ONE, and Wednesday’s series finale will air on his Sportsnet.

Ocean @ LAA: The Mariners are 31-26 against the same AL West team in 2022, but only 5-7 against the Angels. Shohei Ohtani will be on the mound in LA Monday with a match that fans can watch on his SN NOW.

Can the Blue Jays maintain their lead in the AL Wildcard race?

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