I am pumped about the Jays. After that incredible weekend of baseball, and especially after starting this tough stretch 5-1 against the Yankees and Rays, Toronto now sits only 8.5 games out of the Wild Card. Despite what many websites and analysts are saying, with 51 games remaining the Jays are very much involved in the pennant race.
The chances that they continue this charge and make the playoffs? Slim. But the fact that a chance does indeed exist is getting people excited about baseball in this town for the first time in a while. And who knows really: the Jays could very well be the next Colorado Rockies. In 2007 after the same amount of games, the Rockies were 57-54 and had to climb over five teams to make the playoffs. They finished the season 33-19 and took the Wild Card in a one game playoff.
But the real point of this article has to do with the 1989 Blue Jays. I was looking for evidence that a Jays club came from out of nowhere to make the playoffs at this stage of the season. I knew the ’89 team fit that criteria because I remember going nuts as a 10-year old during the end of that season. After 111 games, the ’89 Blue Jays were 55-56 (compared to 59-52 this year), then went on an absolute tear to win the division for the second time in history. The 34-17 finish took them to 89 wins.
And that is where my study fell apart and this article was born.
In 1989 the Toronto Blue Jays won the AL East with 89 wins.
There is a very real chance that this year’s version of the Jays will win 89 games and finish in fourth!!!
There is a chance that the Jays can finish the same way as the ’89 team (34-17 for a final record of 93-69) and still end up in fourth!!!
How times have changed.
Would that 1989 club have any hope in hell in the AL East of today? See for yourself:
– Fred McGriff lead the team with 36 HR – nobody else hit more than 18. There is a real chance that this year’s Jays could end up with seven players with 18+ HR.
– George Bell topped the squad with 104 RBI. Bautista is on pace for 124.
– Only one starter (Dave Stieb) was over .500 (at 17-8). This year Toronto has four (Marcum, Romero, Cecil, Morrow)
– Rance Mulliniks played the majority of games at DH, and finished .238 / 3 HR / 29 RBI. Yikes.
But that team made the playoffs.
So sure if Tampa finishes their final 50 games at .500 (25-25) the Jays will have to go 34-17 to tie them. Sure they also need to pass Boston and Minnesota. But the fact that we are talking about playoffs right now is best surprise of the season.
And hey – if a team lead by Rance Mulliniks can make the playoffs, why can’t the 2010 Jays?