With four weeks remaining in the regular season, the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees are in the midst of a dog fight for the American League East title.
The Blue Jays have 25 games left to play and the Yankees hold a game in hand with 26 left to play down the stretch. This has suddenly become one of the more interesting races to watch in baseball; who will ultimately win the American League East.
At one point in July, the Yankees enjoyed as much as an eight game division lead over the Blue Jays, but that lead quickly evaporated over the month of August and the two clubs are in a virtual dead heat.
While the Blue Jays are the ones who have been riding high since the All-Star break, surprisingly the Yankees have yet to fall out of the picture. The amount of ground the Blue Jays made up on the Yankees was unprecedented, but credit to Yankees; they have not gone down just yet.
It’s pretty easy to see why the Blue Jays have been on a tear as of late, but I’m baffled as to how the Yankees have continued to perform; and that’s even with the loss of one of their best hitters, Mark Teixeira. The Yankees are still somehow finding ways to win.
Just look at the back and forth between these two teams since late July. The division lead has changed multiple times over the past six weeks, and it will still likely change many more times before the regular season ends on October 4th.
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This has all set the stage for a very fascinating final four weeks of the season for both respective teams. They still have seven games left to play against each other – four in New York this upcoming weekend, then three in Toronto in just under two weeks.
Those final seven games could be huge for either team. It could be an opportunity for the Blue Jays to bury the Yankees’ chances of a division title, it also could help propel the Yankees ahead of the Blue Jays once again, or it could be a split and remain a virtual dead heat.
By all accounts, the Blue Jays should win the American League East. Even with only a slim half game lead over the Yankees, the Blue Jays are still the favourites to take the AL East title.
But as we all know, things that should happen often don’t. Take for example, the New York Yankees. With questions about the health of their rotation and a core of aging players, they were not supposed to do anything this year.
And yet here we are, four weeks left to play in the season and the New York Yankees once again have managed to cobble together a competitive team that just won’t go away.
Obviously, the Blue Jays need to capitalize on these upcoming games against the Yankees, but the Blue Jays also shouldn’t take their other remaining opponents very lightly as well.
The Red Sox, Orioles and Rays aren’t going to lie down for the Blue Jays; which is going to make Toronto’s path towards a division title one that will surely be filled with intrigue and suspense.
When pitted against each other, I think most would side with the Blue Jays over the Yankees. New York may edge Toronto slightly in the pitching department, but Toronto’s lineup is just so completely potent.
However, it might ultimately come down to how well these teams play against reeling squads like the Orioles and Red Sox.
But again, we come back to this fabled “New York Yankees” magic; a New York Yankees team which has no business being in a pennant race is chasing down another improbable contender: the Blue Jays.
The momentum is entirely on the side of the Toronto Blue Jays. Their meteoric rise from one game below .500 to now 19 games above in just six weeks is an astounding feat. If the Blue Jays can even carry just a semblance of that momentum through the final four weeks of the season, they should easily coast to an AL East title.
But history is on the side of the New York Yankees. All those playoff appearances and wealth of experience playing baseball in October; this is one thing the Blue Jays don’t have much of, but the Yankees possess it in droves.
If the past month has been any indication, it’s going to go right down to the wire between the Blue Jays and Yankees to see who will win that coveted American League East title and that all-important bye into the ALDS.