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Playing out the string here folks, both on the field and in the Advance Scout (sorry! Though not actually.) The Jays need to win one to finish exactly .500, and at least two to surpass that arbitrary but oh-so-fantastic mark. Otherwise let's just hope for the Red Sox to lose I guess?

Thanks for sticking around for this half (ok, third) season of Advance Scouting, we'll see you next year, assuming the robotpocalypse hasn't happened by then.

This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but with an Advance Scout.

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The Advance Scout's truncated season begins to wind down as the Jays head to St. Pete's for their penultimate series. Tampa Bay is 2 games behind the Red Sox for the American League Wild Card with six to play, actually quite a formidable deficit. Tampa started the month off 5.5 behind before narrowing the gap thanks to the Red Sox mini-collapse. Fun fact: the Red Sox are 4-14 in their last 18, and since August 27th have won one game in which they scored fewer than 9 runs. So maybe Tampa has a shot, although they get the Jays and the Yankees while Boston gets the Yankees and Orioles. Still, the Bosox lost three of four at home to the Orioles this past week, and Tampa Bay is, statistically speaking, likely to go 4 and -1 against the Jays if recent history is any indication.

Every night in my dreams, I Advance Scout you.

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The Angels are in town for a four-gamer to close out the 'Dome for the year. One would imagine that they would like to win these games, given they are 4.5 back in the AL West. Toronto has no such wants or desires, but the team has been gaming for the most part and a series victory would basically seal a .500 season, which is always nice as a talking point.

To Advance Scout, and beyond!
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The Yankees come to Toronto for the last time this year, and are the second last team to grace the Dome this year. They've pretty much locked up the division and homefield advantage throughout the AL playoffs, and have an outside shot at 100 wins (they have to go 10-4.) So, there's that.

Advance Scout, activate!

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This series is almost a mirror of a week and a half ago, with Guthrie versus Cecil leading things off, after which each team had made one change. Rick VandenHurk replaces Jo-Jo Reyes in the O's rotation and gets Henderson Alvarez. Meanwhile Tommy Hunter will face Dustin McGowan, who replaces Luis Perez, who if I understand things correctly will pick up McGowan after he goes his 5 innings/85 or so pitches. Reyes is being skipped by the O's not for innefficiency, shockingly, but because he just gave birth to his second child. Or I guess his wife did, and he went to be with her. McGowan is in because the team wants him to start so that he has less chance of aggravating his various ligaments and the like, or at least that is the official explanation.

Anyway, let's Advance Scout.
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Toronto enters this one 14 games behind the Yankees for the wild card. So if they can sweep them...
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The Blue Jays roll in to Baltimore after salvaging their series against the Rays. The team has 28 games left, 14 each at home on the road. The good news is they play the Orioles a total of 6 times. The bad news is that with one exception, their other 22 games are against teams fighting for a division title (Red Sox [6], Yankees [6]), or the playoffs in general (Angels [4], White Sox [3]). The worse news is the exception is the Rays [3], and we all know how the Jays do against them. If the team wants to finish the season with a winning record, they'll need to beat up on the Orioles to give themselves some cushion. Can they do it, without John Farrell who will sit out the series with pneumonia? Find out next, on Advance Scout.
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We welcome back the Advance Scout as the Jays wrap up their season series against the A's with their only visit to Whateveritscallednow Coliseum. So far this year the teams have split a pair of three game series in Toronto, the most recent of which was last week. Since the All-Star Break the Jays are 18-13, and are playing extremely consistent baseball with few highs and lows - their longest win streak was three games, and their longest losing streak two. Meanwhile the A's are 16-15 in the same time period, though interestingly they've been doing it more with the bats than with the arms, a reversal of the beginning of the year. What else? We'll find out next, on Advance Scout.
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In pre-honour of Jason Frasor tieing Dave Stieb for 3rd most appearances as a pitcher, an Advance Scout.
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The Yankees are at the Fabulous ThunderDome for a quick two game series with 7:07 start times for each.  The Yankees have won four of five while the Jays have dropped three in a row to crap, er, cap off a 3-7 road trip.  Toronto won 10 of the 18 games in the season series last season.

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The Oaklanders visit town for games 4, 5 and 6. The team made some low-profile upgrades over the winter and have a solid club. Here's an abbreviated series preview as we just figured out who's writing on which day and I'm trying to do this from work.
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The Minnesota Twins are the first club to visit the Dome in 2011.  According to the Jays press notes, this is the fourth time these clubs have met on Opening Day.  The Jays hold a 2-1 edge and the home team has won each time.  The Jays also opened their home schedule in 2002 against Minnesota and emerged victorious.   Toronto has won 28 out of 40 against Minnesota since 2006.

Jose Molina finishes crossing the plate after hitting his first home run as a Blue Jay against the Twins July 8.

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This week, the Jays head north to deal with three good lefty starters and a punchless offense. It should be a good series - quick and to the point. Enjoy it, 'cause there are some epic ballgames on the horizon.
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There was a 96% chance that there wasn't going to be an Advance Scout today, until the Jays pulled it out in the 9th against the hated Red Sox. The last Advance Scout was in September of 2008; the Blue Jays had gone 11-1 in their last 12, they were 6.5 games behind the Red Sox for the Wild Card, and had a 4 game series against those same Sox before finishing the year with 6 against the O's and 3 more each against Boston and the Yankees. If they had gone 3-1 in the series (or even swept) they would have been 4.5 or 2.5 back... so of course they promptly lost 3 of 4 to end their faint hopes. When it looked like the triumphant return of the Advance Scout, 2010 edition, would result in that same fate, it seemed like a sign to hang up the keyboard for this season. But with faint hope kept alive, we continue intrepidly. On to the Advance Scout!
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Anticipation has a habit to set you up for disappointment in evening entertainment. But who isn't feeling all giddy after the last two series? Like Dave, I'm hopeful that good crowds will show up, and that the Jays will jump on an injury-ravaged opponent coming off a frustrating weekend in the Bronx. Optimism wins!
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