This is the time of year when MLB becomes intriguing.

The Toronto Blue Jays are in a race because they are 16-6 in the month of September despite losing three of their last four.

Compare that to the New York Yankees who are just 10-11 this month.

The Jays, Yankees, and Seattle Mariners are three teams in the race for the final American League wild-card spot with just 10 days left in the regular season.

The (86-67) Yanks are one game ahead of the (85-68) Jays and two in front of the (84-69) Mariners, who are making a late push by winning their last five.

Looking at the remaining schedule, Toronto appears to have an advantage over New York.

This weekend, the Jays have three more games with the (68-85) Twins in Minnesota. The Twins are last in the Central Division but Minnesota did beat Toronto 7-2 last night (Thursday).

At the same time, the Yankees play at (88-65) Boston. The Red Sox, riding a seven-game win streak, hold down the first wild-card berth by two games over New York and three over Toronto.

Next week the Yankees and Blue Jays go head to head Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in Toronto.

To close out on Oct 1, 2, and 3 Toronto is home to (49-104) Baltimore while the Yanks play the East-leading (94-59) Tampa Bay Rays in New York.

The Orioles have the worst record in the Majors alongside Arizona.

The Mariners are in Anaheim this weekend for three games against the (73-80) LA Angels.

Seattle will close with six home games next week: Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday against (82-71) Oakland and Oct. 1-3 vs. the Angels again.

To summarize,  the Jays have six of their last nine against bottom feeders, the Yanks have six of their last nine against the two teams ahead of them in the AL East
and the Mariners have all nine against teams out of the race but with a roster capable of knocking them off.

Toronto has only been to the postseason eight times in its 43 years which is far better than Seattle, which has gone 20 years without a playoff spot.

How the Jays perform next week against the Yanks will likely be the telling tale if they can make it nine in 44.

Toronto has not won a playoff series in five years.

While most of the Canadian baseball fans will be focused on the Jays fortunes, there are a couple of other races of note heading down the stretch.

In the National League, the two teams with the best records in all of MLB, San Francisco, and LA Dodgers are battling for the West pennant.

The second-place team will be forced into a sudden death wild-card game in all likelihood against the surging (83-69) St Louis Cardinals who are the hottest team in the majors, riding a 12-game win streak.

The (99-54) Giants are one game in front of the (98-55) Dodgers and they do not play each other in the final 10 days.

There is a slight schedule advantage to the Giants, who nobody predicted would win 100 games this year.

San Francisco is in Colorado this weekend against the (71-81) Rockies before hosting (49-104) Arizona and (77-75) San Diego next week.

The Dodgers visit Arizona for three games starting tonight before closing with six home games next week against San Diego and (91-62) Milwaukee.

In addition,  keep an eye on the NL East.

The (80-71) Atlanta Braves are two games up on the (79-74) Philadelphia Phillies and they play each other in a 3-game series starting Tuesday in Atlanta.

The Braves also visit San Diego this weekend and close at home next weekend against the (73-79) New York Mets.

The Phillies host (57-95) Pittsburgh for three games starting tonight and close at (64-88) Miami on Oct 1, 2, and 3.

In a nutshell, here is what we know:

In the National League,  San Francisco, LA Dodgers, and Milwaukee are among the five to advance while St Louis looks like the second wild-card and Atlanta is in the driver’s seat to capture its division.

In the American League, Tampa, Chicago White Sox, and Houston will be division champions while Boston is a solid bet for a wild card.

This leaves the Yanks, Jays, and Mariners the main contenders for one last spot.

When MLB added a second wild-card berth in 2012, part of the reasoning was to keep as many teams in the race as possible.

This year is an example where the Jays control their destiny for that last remaining spot.

At the all-star break, Toronto was just 45-42 and 4 ½ games out of a wild-card berth.

Having gone 40-26 since then, the team has hope.

For a Toronto team that is all, you can ask.

 

Taking Note:

 

FROM THE QUOTE RACK

Prince Philip’s will be sealed for at least 90 years to protect the “dignity” of Queen Elizabeth II and the royal family, a London judge has ruled. “Can we do that with our 2021 season?” asked the Baltimore Orioles.

*Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times http://www.seattletimes.com/author/dwight-perry/

Ray Hagar, the writer that Billy Martin famously punched out in Reno and was subsequently fired as Yankee manager for it, has been inducted into the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame. Isn’t that like Steve Bartman being voted into the Fans Hall of Fame?

*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

Green Bay Packers looked pretty miserable the first week of the season against New Orleans Saints. Fortunately, the NFL sometimes has a cure for that. It’s called playing the Detroit Lions.

*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com

Mitch Trubisky got married … Doubt there was a reception.

@NFL_Memes, via Twitter

In Case You Missed It:

I’m not saying St. Louis baseball fans are spoiled. But they call errors Cardinal sins.

*Western Canadian comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com

Hartley Miller is the news and sports director/supervisor plus morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT and Country 97fm. He also is the radio color commentator for P.G. Cougars’ home games.
Hartley has been on the Prince George airwaves since 1979 and is the author of You Don’t Say (sports quotes).