The Toronto Blue Jays can clinch a postseason berth with a victory over the visiting New York Yankees Thursday night in the finale of a four-game series in Buffalo, N.Y.
After defeating the Yankees 14-1 on Wednesday night for their second win in the first three games, the Blue Jays can take the series with a victory and also gain a split in the 10-game season series.
The Yankees (32-24) played a sloppy game Wednesday, making four errors on the night and failing to score a run after loading the bases with none out in the fifth with the Blue Jays (29-27) leading 5-1.
Left-hander Jordan Montgomery (2-2, 5.12 ERA) will pitch for the Yankees against Blue Jays left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu (4-2, 3.00).
The Yankees are second in the American League East, three games ahead of the third-place Blue Jays. The Tampa Bay Rays clinched first in the division Wednesday by defeating the New York Mets 8-5.
The Yankees still have a chance to advance in the seedings to gain home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
“We didn’t play very well tonight in every facet,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “We’re a better team than we showed tonight. … It’s a frustrating performance but it happened but we’ve got to put it behind us and understand the amazing opportunity that sits in front of us.”
Montgomery will make his 10th start of the season Thursday and his second of the season against Toronto. He allowed two runs in 3 1/3 innings against Toronto on Sept. 7 at Buffalo and did not factor in the decision as New York lost 12-7. He is 2-0 with a 2.78 ERA in five career outings (four starts) against Toronto.
Ryu allowed five runs in five innings against the Yankee on Sept. 7 and did not factor in the decision. He is 0-2 with an 8.80 ERA in three career starts against the Yankees.
The Blue Jays have a young team and many of the players have not experienced meaningful major league games in September let alone postseason competition.
“We have a lot of work to do,” said Blue Jays second baseman Cavan Biggio, who had a two-run double in an eight-run sixth Wednesday. “I think we’re just scratching the surface on what we’re going to be able to do at this level. To see it coming this early on in our careers gives us a little glimpse of what we can end up doing in the future.”
“I’m very proud of my team to be in this position at this time, to be in a position to clinch a playoff spot,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “No one expected us to be here and you can feel the vibe in there. This is a great experience for them. Just going through this for the first time it’s pretty cool for these kids. You can see it. This experience is going to help them from now until they retire.”
Blue Jays catcher Danny Jansen continued his hot hitting against the Yankees. He was 4-for-4 Wednesday with two solo homers and three RBIs. Jansen is batting .373 (22-for-59) with four doubles, six homers and 15 RBIs in 18 career games against the Yankees.
–Field Level Media