In the end it was the Blue Jays bats that got them out of danger and kept them in the race a little bit longer. On Friday and Saturday of Labor Day Weekend 2021 in Toronto, they took it to a pretty good Oakland Athletics team that they’re chasing in the AL Wildcard standings.
On Sunday, Robbie Ray gave them a start that resulted in a shutout 8-0 win, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. got three hits on the day that extended his hitting streak to 13 straight games. Also, he’s hit in 22 of 23 safely now seeing his average raise back up to .318 with 104 runs scored and 39 homers. Still, he’s got to find a way to get another home run and get the RBI over 100.
Toronto still has some work to do to be sure, trailing Seattle and Boston in the standings for the final wildcard some four games back.
They caught Oakland in the standings, which was no small order. Lourdes Gurriel Jr.’s big grand slam and Marcus Semien’s walk-off on back to back days gave them the type of unlikely wins that make up for the bad losses in some of the games they have given away.
The take home message is that while Toronto is probably a team that falls short of October, they will likely finish with a winning record and they have delivered as promised in 2021: they can hit and score a lot of runs. They’re entertaining. They have a good core of centerpiece players and a lot of guys around them that can cause problems.
Finally, how about Robbie Ray? Ten more strikeouts on Sunday and another victory, and it’s hard to find a pitcher that’s been better over the last month than the man himself.
Right about as the game today went final, news was leaked that the Blue Jays would like to extend the contracts of both Ray and Semien, who will be free agents after the year. That’s a sign of goodwill that shows they are letting the public know that those two guys have helped carry the Blue Jays towards a successful season.