Blue Jays Clinch Playoff Berth, End 22-Year Drought On Technicality

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The Toronto Blue Jays are headed to the playoffs for the first time in 22 years, but you might be able to find some guys on the team who don’t know it yet.

The Jays beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-3 on Friday and went into Saturday’s game with a magic number of one — or so it seemed.  But the schedules of a few other teams showed that Toronto already had punched its ticket to the postseason.

As MLB.com’s Gregor Chisolm explained Saturday, the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Angels, who have the best shot at the second American League wild-card spot, each had 74 losses before Saturday’s games, meaning the best they could manage was a three-way tie with the 88-65 Jays. But the Astros had two games left in their series with the AL West-leading Texas Rangers and the Angels end the season with a four-game set against the Rangers, too.

So if the Astros and Angels accomplished their best-case scenarios, then that would mean six losses for Texas, which wouldn’t be able to finish better than 87-75. And that would put the team one game behind the Blue Jays for a wild-card spot.

Did you get all that?

Obviously, Toronto’s clinch is complicated, and most of the team, including manager John Gibbons, didn’t find out about it until Saturday morning. Still, the Jays aren’t too excited yet because they have greater ambitions.

“Until we hit that magic number (to win the AL East) — and I don’t even know what it is, I don’t know if the guys in here even know what that is — we’re just going to be playing baseball the way that the Blue Jays have played all year, and that’s hard every day, good defense, pulling for one another and letting the results speak for themselves,” pitcher R.A. Dickey said.

Thumbnail photo via John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports Images

Toronto Blue Jays celebrate a win over the New York Yankees.

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