With a 4-1 win (box score) over the New York Yankees?on Thursday night at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, New York, the Toronto Blue Jays are heading to the 2020 postseason for the first time in four years.?
They're the seventh American League team to clinch a postseason berth in the expanded, 16-team postseason format for this year in which eight teams from each league will make it. ?
This will be their first postseason appearance since 2016 and just their third since winning back-to-back World Series in 1992 and 1993. The club appeared in the playoffs during back-to-back runs in 2015 and 2016 to the AL Championship Series. In 2015, they lost the series, 4-2, to the eventual champion Kansas City Royals and they lost in five games to Cleveland in 2016.?
Lefty Hyun-jin Ryu tossed seven scoreless innings against the Yankees, allowing just five hits while striking out four. Ryu signed with the Blue Jays this offseason as a free agent when the two sides agreed to a four-year, $80 million deal. The 33-year-old is 5-2 on the season with a 2.69 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 72 strikeouts in 67 innings.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. got the Jays on the board with his eighth home run of the season, a solo blast off Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery in the second inning. Bo Bichette and Alejandro Kirk provided the additional three runs with RBI doubles.
The 2020 Blue Jays were technically considered a rebuilding team entering the year, but the youngsters have proven to be ready earlier than expected. Guerrero Jr. (21 years old), Bichette (22), Teoscar Hernandez (27), Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (26) and Cavan Biggio (25) are part of the young core. Ahead of the postseason, the Jays will get a lift on the pitching front since right-hander and top prospect Nate Pearson was activated from the 10-day injured list. The homegrown ace had been sidelined since Aug. 18 with an elbow injury.
Because of the global coronavirus pandemic, the Blue Jays have played their 2020 home games at Sahlen Field, their Triple-A affiliate ballpark in Buffalo, New York. The Canadian government denied the club's request to play at their home ballpark, Rogers Centre in Toronto, because of concerns over teams crossing the border amid the pandemic. The Blue Jays explored other options like playing at their spring training facility in Dunedin, Florida, and splitting games with the Orioles and Pirates, at Camden Yards and PNC Park, respectively.
With three games remaining in the 2020 regular season, the Blue Jays are 30-27. They're two games behind the Yankees for second place in the AL East. The Blue Jays finished 5-5 in their 10-game regular season series against the Yankees. The Tampa Bay Rays?clinched the division on Wednesday. Toronto will close out the regular season with a three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles.?