The Seattle Mariners have been on a roll lately in the race to reach the Major League Baseball postseason (PS). Led by All-Star outfielder Julio Rodriguez, who has been on fire at the plate, pounding out 17 hits in four games, the Mariners have rattled off six straight wins. That has propelled them to the third wild-card spot in the American League, the minimum for fall baseball. They’re half a game behind the second-place Houston Astros.
The fourth-place team in the wild-card race also has rosy expectations, though not as rosy as Seattle’s. The Toronto Blue Jays are led by Ryu Hyun-jin, 36.
After weathering a rough patch in late July, Toronto is poised for a big comeback with a stabilized rotation and a lineup that’s back from injury.
Toronto finished a 17-game road trip in late July with a 9-8 record. The grueling schedule has led to injuries and player fatigue.
Toronto had two days off last week. They had time to rebuild their roster. Bo Bissett, Matt Chapman, Kevin Kiermaier, George Springer, Danny Jansen, and other players who had been plagued by injuries, big and small, returned one by one.
The best news for Toronto was that Hyun-jin Ryu proved to be healthy during this period. Ryu pitched five shutout innings, striking out seven and allowing two runs (one earned) in a 10-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on April 21 in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Toronto finished its five-game week with three wins and two losses, keeping its hopes alive in the American League wild-card race.
The Toronto offense, which is closer to full strength with the return of key players, showed off its firepower against Cincinnati, blasting five home runs. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. suffered a finger injury in the game, but it is reportedly minor.
Ryu, who joined the team during the 17-game road trip, made four starts, going 2-1 with a 1.89 ERA. It’s hard to believe that this is the performance of a late-arriving fifth starter. Toronto has won three of his four starts.
With Hyun-jin Ryu back to his old self, Toronto’s starting rotation feels unexpectedly strong.
The rotation of Kevin Gausman, Jose Berrios, Chris Bassett, Japanese pitcher Yusei Kikuchi, and Hyun-Jin Ryu combined for a 2.57 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in five games last week.
Ace Gausman faltered last week, giving up seven runs against the Philadelphia Phillies, but he’s not the type of player to continue his slump. Berrios and Bassett are veteran pitchers with a sense of stability. Kikuchi has been on a roll lately, going 2-1 with a 1.29 ERA in his last six starts.
The Jays will now prepare for the next part of their schedule with a more solid lineup.
The Jays will have a day off before hosting the American League-leading Baltimore Orioles on April 23. Toronto went 1-3 in a four-game series against Baltimore earlier this month. Ryu Hyun-jin also faced Baltimore in his return and took the loss.
After the three-game series in Baltimore, Toronto has a can’t-miss schedule. They play 15 games against teams with a winning percentage below .500, including the Cleveland Cavaliers, Washington Nationals, Colorado Rockies, Oakland Athletics, and Kansas City Royals.메이저놀이터
Improving their winning percentage during this stretch will make it easier for them to compete for a spot in fall baseball.
Ryu will likely start at home against Cleveland on Sunday, July 27 at 4:07 a.m. ET.
This is the second game Ryu has faced since his return. He was in the midst of a four-inning, one-hit shutout when he was hit in the knee by a hitter’s pitch, forcing him to leave the game early. There were no lingering effects, and Ryu went on to win his second straight start, setting Toronto on fire.