Blue Jays guaranteed at least wild-card spot, ending 22-year playoff drought

ESPN logo
Saturday, September 26, 2015

The numbers have been crunched, and the Toronto Blue Jays are headed to the playoffs for the first time in 22 years.

Though the Blue Jays' mathematical magic number remains at 1 to clinch at least the second American League wild-card spot, that one loss by teams contending with Toronto is guaranteed to happen because of the remaining head-to-head schedules of the three AL West contenders (Texas Rangers, Houston Astros andLos Angeles Angels).

The Rangers play the Astros twice and the Angels four times. Put simply: It's not possible for two AL West teams to finish ahead of Toronto, even if the Blue Jays lose out and are passed by the New York Yankees in the AL East.

Toronto's worst possible record is 88-74. The Astros and Angels already have 74 losses, and if both win out, the Rangers (currently 84-69) will have at least 75 losses. If the Blue Jays and two AL West teams all finish 88-74, the AL West teams would play off for the division title, and the loser would be a wild card along with Toronto.

The team celebrated its postseason berth on Twitter on Saturday morning.

But manager John Gibbons and many of the team's players weren't aware Toronto was guaranteed a postseason spot until informed by reporters Saturday morning.

"I bet you could find somebody else that doesn't know," catcher Russell Martin told the National Post. "I guarantee you. Somebody doesn't know that we've clinched."

The Blue Jays hadn't been to the postseason since winning their second straight World Series in 1993. Entering Saturday's games, Toronto has a four-game lead in the AL East over the Yankees, who are in position to win the first AL wild-card spot.

"It's been so long," Gibbons said. "Guys have played great and really turned it on the last two months. So it's a good feeling, but we're trying for much more than that."

Seattle, which last went to the playoffs in 2001, now holds the distinction of the team with the longest postseason drought.

ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press contributed to this report.