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Yet Another Walk-Off Victory! Blue Jays Complete Sweep of Boston and Secure 2nd Wild Card Spot

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In a thrilling display of back-to-back walk-off wins, the Toronto Blue Jays are making a statement in the American League Wild Card race. Their Sunday afternoon victory over the Red Sox, with a final score of 3-2, capped off a series sweep at Rogers Centre and has positioned them exactly where they want to be.

Here’s a snapshot of their current situation:

  • Games remaining (12): 3 games against the Yankees, 3 games against the Rays, 3 games against the Yankees, and 3 games against the Rays.
  • Standings update: The Blue Jays (83-67) are securely holding the second spot in the AL Wild Card, with a half-game lead over the Texas Rangers (82-67) in third place and a 1 1/2 game lead over the Seattle Mariners (81-68).
  • Tiebreakers: The Blue Jays lost the season series against the Texas Rangers (6-1), won against the Houston Astros (4-3), and are tied against the Seattle Mariners (3-3). However, the Mariners (26-13) hold a better intradivision record than the Blue Jays (15-25).
John Schneider on 3-2 win Sep 17, 2023 · 1:02 John Schneider on 3-2 win. Photo Cradit: mlb.com

Toronto’s dramatic resurgence is nothing short of remarkable, especially considering they suffered a four-game home series sweep by the Rangers just days ago. But in this rollercoaster season, surprises have become par for the course. It feels fitting that Matt Chapman, who valiantly fought through a right middle finger injury for a month and spent the summer striving to recapture his April form, emerged as the hero in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Chapman’s clutch triple plated Cavan Biggio, igniting another jubilant dugout celebration in less than 24 hours.

Photo cradit: mlb.com

Amidst the chaos in Toronto, the Rangers suffered a sweep by the Guardians, allowing the Blue Jays to leap into the second AL Wild Card spot. With three teams essentially competing for two coveted positions, the playoff standings seem to change on a daily basis, resembling a rapidly evolving math equation.

Manager John Schneider candidly remarked, ‘It’s not enjoyable by any means. But it’s the reality we’re all facing right now. You have to leave the past behind and approach each game as a unique challenge. The emotional rollercoaster is quite a ride, and I’d like to extend my gratitude to Left Field Brewery for providing quality beer to help cope with it.

Photo Cradit: mlb.com

In an ideal scenario, this game should have been a lot less nerve-wracking. The Blue Jays were clinging to a 2-1 lead with two outs and a two-strike count on Rafael Devers in the ninth inning, but the Red Sox superstar crushed a game-tying home run, extending the contest into extra innings. That’s where Matt Chapman stepped up in a big way, sending a towering fly ball off the center-field wall to bring Cavan Biggio home. This 402-foot triple would have cleared the fences in approximately one-third (10) of MLB ballparks.

Chapman reflected on the rollercoaster nature of the entire season, saying, ‘It’s been a year filled with numerous ups and downs for us. We go through a sweep and then turn around to sweep another team. Given the emphasis on the value of each win, it was reassuring that we could put the Texas series behind us and shift our focus to Boston, a team that had our number earlier this season, no doubt.

Matt Chapman started the season with a bang, boasting a stellar 1.152 OPS accompanied by five home runs and 15 doubles by April 30th. It appeared to be a dream season for the impending free agent. However, his performance took a different turn from May 1st onward, as he struggled, batting just .206 with a .649 OPS. These numbers were well below his true talent level, and they didn’t allow his exceptional defensive skills to shine.

Despite his mid-season slump, the Blue Jays’ faith in Chapman remains unwavering. Nevertheless, time is running out with just 12 games left in the regular season.

Manager John Schneider expressed his support, saying, ‘We all know the caliber of player Matt can be. He’s consistently demonstrated it over the years, including this season. It’s been a challenging period for him, especially coming back from injury. I’m thrilled that he came through with the crucial hit today. As Chris Bassitt mentioned yesterday, ‘We have the talent.’ Matt is undoubtedly one of those talented players.

Photo Cradit: mlb.com

The Blue Jays have experienced a significant emotional rollercoaster, as they could have easily crumbled after the demoralizing series against the Rangers. Their offensive performance in this series wasn’t particularly impressive, and they will need to step up against the Rays and Yankees. Nevertheless, victories are victories, and style points don’t matter in September.

Manager John Schneider acknowledged the resilience of his team, saying, ‘Going from a sweep to sweeping another team? That’s no small feat. I admire the way they played throughout this series. It was a hard-fought battle, our pitching was outstanding, and the defense made crucial plays. We managed to generate enough offense with clutch hits in critical moments. After the Texas series, the outcome could have swung either way, but these guys rose to the occasion. It’s what we anticipated from them.

Cavan Biggio’s diving catch Sep 17, 2023 · 0:31 Cavan Biggio’s diving catch. Photo Cradit: mlb.com

Scoreboard watching can be a highly individualized experience for players and coaches. Some meticulously follow every change and every run, while others have superstitions, avoiding the scoreboard until the following day. Many claim to focus on what they can control, but in reality, they sneak glances out of the corner of their eye to check for updates.

At this juncture, the one certainty is stress, and the upcoming two weeks will determine whether it’s the positive or negative kind.

Reference:

https://www.mlb.com/news/matt-chapman-walk-off-rbi-helps-blue-jays-reclaim-wild-card-spot

https://flipboard.com/article/another-walk-off-blue-jays-sweep-boston-move-into-2nd-wc-spot/f-7ccf3e19a6%2Fmlb.com

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