The Yankees are definitely going to the post-season, and the Blue Jays - barring the most tragic homestand in franchise history - will be there as well.
The Yankees will finish with the league's second best record, well behind Houston, which is not something that seemed very likely at the All-Star Break. But they're locked into place now. Oh, theoretically the Jays could still overtake them. The Yankees Magic Number is 1, and as long as it's not yet zero...
At any rate, there's the grim possibility that we will be subjected to the extremely irritating spectacle of the Yankees clinching the division in Our House. The only way the Jays can prevent this is by sweeping the three games, and making them clinch at home against the Orioles.
We may also have to endure Aaron Judge setting a new league record for HRs in a season, leaving Babe Ruth and Roger Maris in his dust. Also in Our House. My teeth are already on edge just thinking about it. Unless the Jays can force him to wait as well until Baltimore comes to New York. And sure - he'd rather have his historic moment in front of the home fans. Wouldn't he?
The Blue Jays, of course, would very much prefer to open their October schedule in front of the home crowd. They would be well advised to try to win each of their three remaining series. Seattle has ten games left, all at home, all against bad teams. The bad teams have been giving the Mariners fits lately, but it's not something one should count on.
The Yankees lead the season series 9-7, but we might note that most of those games were played fairly early on when the Yankees were doing a fairly credible impression of the Best Team Ever. But to review:
We began by splitting four games in the Bronx:
Apr 11: Toronto 3 New York 0 - Alek Manoah opened his season with Auhority, allowing just one hit over six inning. Springer drove in all three runs with a HR and a 2b.
Apr 12: Toronto 0 New York 4 - Nestor Cortes and four relievers shut out the Jays on five hits. Hicks hit a two-run HR off Kikuchi and another run scored when Heineman's pickoff throw to second base sailed into centre field.
Apr 13: Toronto 6 New York 4 - A pair of Guerrero HRs staked Berrios to a 3-0 lead, but the Yankees tied it up on HRs from Rizzo and Judge and doubles from Donaldson and LeMahieu. Springer's RBI single and yet another Guerrero HR put the Jays ahead to stay.
Apr 14: Toronto 0 New York 3 - Luis Severino and six relievers shut out the Jays on five hits, and Trevino had a pair of RBI singles off Gausman, who deserved better.
The teams met in Toronto a couple of weeks later, by which time the Yankees were en fuego, having just won 11 of 12.
May 2: New York 3 Toronto 2 - The Yankees got two off Stripling in the top of the fourth; the Jays tied it off Montgomery in the bottom half. It stayed like that until the ninth, when Locastro stole second and scored on Torres single.
May 3: New York 9 Toronto 1 - Taillon and Manoah were tied 1-1 through six. But in the seventh, the Yankees scored twice against Cimber on a Bichette error and a pair of doubles. Merryweather then came in and threw gasoline on the fire.
May 4: New York 1 Toronto 2 - Yusei Kikuchi was dominant, and he needed to be, as the Jays could only push across two against Cortes. Chapman and Gallo exchanged early HRs, and Guerrero drove in Bichette with the game's only other run.
Later that same week, everyone was back in the Bronx for a couple.
May 10: Toronto 5 New York 6 - The Jays took a quick 3-0 lead, but the Yankees tied it all at once on Stanton's three run HR off Garcia in the sixth. But the Jays scored twice in the eighth, and handed a two run lead to Romano - who walked Trevino and LeMahieu, and gave up a three run walkoff shot to Judge.
May 11: Toronto 3 New York 5 - Torres' three run HR off Berrios was the big blow in this one. The Jays got to within a run, but Torres added a two run single in the sixth.
When the Yankees came to Toronto in the middle of June, they sported a nifty 47-16 record, and promptly proceeded to improve on it.
June 17: New York 12 Toronto 3 - The Yankees scored twice and chased Ross Stripling in the fourth inning. They then indulged themselves. Trent Thornton's fifth inning went HBP, HR (Stanton), HR (LeMahieu), 2B, 2B. Rizzo added a grand slam before the inning was over.
June 18: New York 4 Toronto 0 - The Yankees loaded the bases against Manoah in the fourth and Aaron Hicks cashed in everyone with a double. Taillon and three relievers scattered five hits for the shutout.
June 19: New York 9 Toronto 10 - Guerrero's HR gave the Jays a quick 2-0 lead, but the Yankees scored three against Kikuchi and three more against Cimber. Max Castillo made his MLB debut, and was greeted by HRs from Higashioka and Gonzalez. Trailing 8-3, the Jays fought back in the bottom half, with a Gurriel grand slam. And in the next inning, Hernandez hit a three run HR to put the Jays back on top. The Yankees put the tying and winning runs on base in the ninth, but Romano got Rizzo on a grounder to end it.
But it would be almost two months before these teams would meet again, and when the Jays visited the Bronx in mid-August, the Yankees had lost 11 of their previous 14 games.
August 18: Toronto 9 New York 2 - The Jays abused Frankie Montas early and often, Guerrero's three run HR being the big blow. Jose Berrios was the beneficiary, and he was in fine form himself.
August 19: Toronto 4 New York 0 - Gausman and two relievers scattered four singles for the shutout, and Hernandez's two run HR gave him more than enough support.
August 20: Toronto 5 New York 2 - Mitch White held the Yankees to one run over four innings, and the Jays got to Gerrit Cole in the fifth, thanks to a pair of two-run doubles from Bradley and Kirk. The Yankees had now lost 14 of 17.
August 21: Toronto 2 New York 4 - Manoah and Cortes left after six, and the Jays tied the game at 2-2 on Bradley's bases loaded walk in the seventh. But in the bottom half, Trevino singled, Benintendi hit a two run HR, and Trivino closed it out over the final two innings.
The Yankees have finally got deadline acquisition Harrison Bader into the lineup in centre field. They're still without Andrew Benintendi, and hotshot rookie Oswaldo Cabrera has been getting the LF starts lately. D.J. LeMahieu is still on the IL with a tender toe, though he could be back any day now. Wandy Peralta is the latest reliever to go on the IL, where he and Michael King, Miguel Castro, Chad Green, and Albert Abreu are having jackets made. But Zack Britton made his long awaited 2022 debut the other day, facing five batters and retiring one.
Macbeth: If we should fail?
Lady Macbeth: We fail.
But screw your courage to the sticking place,
And we'll not fail.
Mon 26 Sep - Severino (6-3, 3.36) vs Gausman (12-10, 3.32)
Tue 27 Sep - Taillon (13-5, 3.90) vs Berrios (11-6, 5.27)
Wed 28 Sep - Cole (12-7, 3.49) vs White (1-6, 5.12)