Blue Jays Wild Card Watch: Four-team tie looking more realistic

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Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and the Blue Jays might have to play a sudden death game before they even get to the Wild Card Game. (Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports)
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and the Blue Jays might have to play a sudden death game before they even get to the Wild Card Game. (Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports)

Welcome to Blue Jays Wild Card Watch, a daily snapshot of where Toronto stands in relation to its rivals in the playoff race. Each morning we'll briefly recap the previous night's action and tee up what comes next.

What's better than the Wild Card Game? A pair of do-or-die games just to make it to the Wild Card Game.

That's the direction we might be heading in as the four teams battling for the final two American League playoff spots are separated by just two games in the standings. A four-way tie between the clubs would result in a pair of play-in games to determine who gets to square off in the actual Wild Card Game.

The Toronto Blue Jays bolstered their own playoff hopes on Wednesday with a dramatic 6-5 victory over the New York Yankees in front of 30,000 boisterous fans at Rogers Centre. Bo Bichette was the hero for Toronto, launching the decisive solo home run in the eighth inning.

"This is what we dream of doing," Bichette said after the game. "I wouldn’t be playing baseball if it wasn’t for moments like this."

The reprieve Blue Jays fans felt after the victory was only temporary, as Toronto and New York square off in the rubber match of their three-game set on Thursday. A loss would put the Blue Jays' postseason aspirations on life support with only three games remaining in the 2021 campaign after tonight.

The good news for Toronto is that ace and Cy Young favourite Robbie Ray (2.68 ERA) will be on the mound for the pressure-packed situation. A two-time Cy Young winner in Corey Kluber (3.82 ERA) counters for the Yankees. Get your popcorn ready.

In the meantime, here's a look at what's going on with Boston and Seattle, who stand directly between the Blue Jays and the playoffs.

Boston Red Sox

Last night's result: The Red Sox snapped their four-game losing streak with a convincing 6-0 win over the lowly Baltimore Orioles. Nathan Eovaldi was dominant on the mound and J.D. Martinez drove in three runs to get Boston back on track.

Tonight's matchup: Another clash with Baltimore looms, with the Red Sox sending Nick Pivetta (4.52 ERA) to the bump against Orioles lefty Alexander Wells (7.61 ERA). The pitching matchup may look like a mismatch on paper, but the Orioles roughed up Pivetta for seven hits and three runs in 3.2 innings on Sept. 18. Blue Jays fans will be hoping for a repeat performance on Thursday.

Seattle Mariners

Last night's result: The Mariners single-handedly crushed the Oakland Athletics' playoff dreams. Seattle won 12 consecutive games against Oakland, including seven in the past 10 days, to bury its rival and keep pace in the race. Rookie Logan Gilbert surrendered just one run in 5.2 innings on Wednesday to help the Mariners double up the A's 4-2.

Scott Servais's group has been doubted all year thanks to a poor run differential that still stands at minus-48. But Mariners magic is alive and well and the team has a very realistic shot at snapping its 20-year playoff drought.

Tonight's matchup: Off day ahead of a three-game series with the Los Angeles Angels to wrap up the season.

Oakland Athletics

Eliminated from playoff contention.

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