This might have not been the season we all wanted but we got sports and now we have the best time of all — playoffs. The MLB had quite the condensed season as they only played 60 games. In comparison to the 162-game season they normally have, this season really meant every game mattered. One of the more compelling series in this year’s playoffs is the Toronto Blue Jays taking on the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL Wild Card. But to know where we are going, we must first know where we have been. So let us take a look at this wild run to October baseball.
Toronto: Toronto found themselves third in the AL East sitting two places behind their opponent. A 32-28 record on the season was just enough to sneak them through into the playoffs but what carried them here? It certainly was not their road play as they finished 4 games under .500. But the mighty North has always been much more comfortable for the Jays. Bautista fans will back me up on the crowd noise there. The Blue Jays are quite the story because they come in with a lot of youth. They only hit for .255 as a team and had an ERA of 4.60. The Blue Jays finished 6-4 in their last 10 games but posted double-digit run totals in three of those games.
Tampa Bay: Tampa Bay found themselves in familiar territory the last couple of years. The Rays continue to find themselves flying under the radar in the AL East because well, you would assume COVID had happened with how empty their stadium always is. The Rays finished 7 games ahead of the second-place New York Yankees. Tampa Bay has been able to ride the hot bats of Yandy Diaz and Brandon Lowe. Diaz, who hit for .307 and had an on-base percentage of .428, also provided some quality defense in the hot corner. Lowe, on the other hand, carrier the team with 14 home runs and 37 RBI’s. The Rays also finished their last ten games 8-2. They were helped but a solid bullpen that posted a 3.56 ERA this season.
Series Prediction: The Wild Card series being just a three-game series means that we will have to see the best that these two teams have to offer. With the way that the Blue Jays are able to put up runs in a hurry should worry Tampa Bay. For Toronto to have success, they need to get runners on base. Tyler Glasnow and Blake Snell are going to be stellar on the bump. The bats cannot be cold like a Canadian winter for Toronto. However, the Rays could struggle if they have to rely on their offense. They only had four batters in their average starting 9 that hit for over .230. They will not kill you on the bases either as they only have Manuel Margot who has double-digit steals this season. Ultimately, I think the Tampa Bay Rays take this series 2-0. They need to only put their two best guys on the mound and let them go to work. The bullpen in Toronto is just not strong and if the Rays can get runners on the bags, it will be game over.