Welcome to September’s Meaningful Baseball

This is the critical moment for the Toronto Blue Jays.

After their first losing month of the year (13-14 in August), the Blue Jays are in a tight race for a playoff spot as the schedule swings into September.

The Blue Jays, who will play major games in September for the third straight year, begin a 10-game road trip with a weekend series against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The interleague series caps a nine-game streak for the Blue Jays against teams with records well below .500, but Toronto’s record so far in this series is just 2-4.

Here’s a preview of the Blue Jays-Pirates game.

Probable Pitchers

Friday, 6:35 p.m. ET/3:35 p.m. PT: Toronto RHP Alek Manoah (12-7, 2.60 ERA) vs. Johan Oviedo (2-1, 3.20 ERA)

Saturday, 6:35 p.m. ET / 3:35 p.m. PT: TBD vs Roansy Contreras (4-4, 3.57 ERA)

Sunday, 12:05 p.m. ET / 9:05 a.m. PT: Ross Stripling (6-4, 2.94 ERA) vs. JT Brubaker (3-11, 4.39 ERA)

All games on Sportsnet.

Latest news on the Blue Jays

The Blue Jays (70-59) capped a disappointing homestand with a 2-4 record after a 7-5 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday.

Fifth starter Mitch White had his second shaky outing in a row — not good news with his next start slated for a key series against the Baltimore Orioles.

The Blue Jays cut a 5-0 deficit to 6-5 in the sixth on a three-run homer from Alejandro Kirk, but couldn’t close.

Toronto has now dropped into the third and final wildcard spot in the American League, two games behind the Tampa Bay Rays and Seattle Mariners and 1.5 games ahead of the Baltimore Orioles.

Latest Hacker News

The Pirates (49-81) are one of the worst teams in baseball. But, hey, at least PNC Park is a nice place to spend an evening or an afternoon (expect a significant number of Blue Jays fans to make the six-hour drive).

August was the worst month of the year for the Pirates, who finished 9-19 after losing two of three to the Milwaukee Brewers earlier this week.

The Pirates will miss the playoffs for the seventh straight year.

Like the Blue Jays, the Pirates were absent on Thursday.

joker watch

The Orioles also face a lightweight this weekend as they entertain Oakland A’s worst AL.

The Mariners are in Cleveland to meet the Guardians at the head of AL Central, while the Rays host the Yankees at the head of the AL East.

The Minnesota Twins, three behind Toronto, are in Chicago to face the middleweight White Sox.

September to remember

The Blue Jays took their fans on a wild ride last September, going 19-9 and then winning their last three games in October.

In the end, however, they lost a game short of a playoff berth.

familiar face

Pirates general manager Ben Cherington was vice president of baseball operations for the Blue Jays before taking the job from Pittsburgh in November 2019.

Interleague play

The Pirates are 4-11 against the AL this year, while the Blue Jays are 9-6 against the National League.

Back in blue

Outfielder Bradley Zimmer will join the Blue Jays for the weekend series after being slated for an assignment Aug. 15. The Blue Jays claimed Zimmer off waivers from the Philadelphia Phillies earlier this week.

Right-hander Casey Lawrence was also recalled from Buffalo’s triple-A on Thursday.

Next

The Blue Jays kick off a huge four-game series in Baltimore with a doubleheader on Labor Day. The road trip ends with three games against the Texas Rangers.

. Septembers Meaningful Baseball

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