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Jays Face Must-Win Final Homestand

The Rogers Centre on July 30, 2009 in Toronto. The Rogers Centre is a multi-purpose stadium in downtown Toronto famous the world over for its fully retractable roof.

The Toronto Blue Jays and their fans have been on a wild ride during the month of September. Entering the month, the team was 4.5 games out of the second Wild Card spot and fans knew an impressive run would be necessary to join the postseason race. The Jays delivered with an eight-game winning streak between September 1st and 9th and an 18-8 stretch through September 26th. However, series losses in the past week against their AL East bête noire, the Tampa Bay Rays, and the last-place Minnesota Twins have left the Jays on the outside looking in once again. Toronto is 1.0 games behind the Boston Red Sox for the second American League Wild Card spot after the New York Yankees swept the Sox at Fenway to take over the first Wild Card position.

The Jays will have one final chance to clinch a postseason spot in two final series against divisional foes. The homestand begins with three games against New York on Tuesday night, followed by three games against the Baltimore Orioles over the final weekend of the season. All game times for the Yankees series will be at 7:07 PM ET. With series victories and a continued Boston losing streak, Toronto will have the opportunity to potentially celebrate a postseason appearance in front of the home fans. This was exactly the type of scenario team executives envisioned when they lobbied the Canadian government for an exemption from the COVID-19 travel restrictions which would allow them to resume play in Toronto.

Game 1 against the Yankees will pit Jameson Taillon (8-6, 4.41 ERA) against Hyun-Jin Ryu (13-9, 4.34 ERA). Ryu has a 7.09 ERA in his last seven games. Can he bounce back when it matters most?

For Game 2, trade deadline acquisition José Berríos (12-9, 3.48 ERA) will face Yankees ace Gerrit Cole (16-8, 3.08 ERA). Berríos has a 3.27 ERA in September.

The series finale will see Corey Kluber (5-3, 3.82 ERA) matched up against Cy Young Award contender Robbie Ray (13-6, 2.68 ERA). With his phenomenal 2021 season and MLB-leading 244 strikeouts, Ray has overtaken Yu Darvish for ownership of MLB’s best career rate of strikeouts per nine innings (11.2).

Pitching matchups for the Baltimore series are to be determined. Friday’s opener will be at 7:07 PM ET, while the Saturday and Sunday matinees will begin at 3:07 PM ET.

Featured image: The Rogers Centre on July 30, 2009 in Toronto. The Rogers Centre is a multi-purpose stadium in downtown Toronto famous the world over for its fully retractable roof. By manlio_70 / Shutterstock.com.

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