Welcome to the postseason.
For the first time this season the Jays truly are heading into a must-win game. Lose Sunday and it’s season over. And what a disappointing end that would be.
All the excitement of a team poised for a World Series run has been sapped by two heartbreaking losses on home turf against a team the Jays probably should beat relatively handily.
It’s doubly disheartening to think Jays fans may have waited 22 years for a return to the playoffs, and might have to wait at least another year for a playoff win.
The sad truth is that baseball is a funny sport, where far too often what “should” happen doesn’t happen. David Price “should” shut down the Texas offence. Donaldson, Bautista and Encarnacion “should” have success against Yovani Gallardo and some of the bullpen pieces they’ve thrown out against Toronto in Games 1 and 2.
Russell Martin “should” be able to execute a fairly simple rundown.
And yet, that hasn’t happened.
In the ultimate example of the game-of-inches that baseball is, the Jays are down two games to none because of an inch here, and an inch there.
Take Friday. An inch more air between Rougned Odor and second base, a split second timing on a Josh Donaldson swing, a hair more lift from Edwin Encarnacion’s warning track shot to centre field, an inch here and there on a few pitches/an inch of forgiveness from the home plate umpire, and we could very well be spending the last couple of days talking about a best-of-three series.
For six months of the year you take the last two games and say “that’s baseball.” Over the course of 162 games those things almost always even out. You win a few you shouldn’t, and lose a few you shouldn’t. You lose a few games to an inferior team, and beat the better team on more than one occasion.
That’s not to say the Jays have been the better team. They haven’t.
But they are the better team. Given enough games between the two teams, the Jays would come out on top.
Unfortunately that’s not how things work. After grinding through 162 regular season contests, the best teams almost invariably are the ones that make the postseason. But when October rolls around the race immediately goes from a marathon to a sprint. A sprint where anything can, and quite often happens.
Let’s just hope that the Jays can recover from their stumble out of the blocks, and at least put themselves back into the thick of this dash.