The Toronto Blue Jays have been eliminated from the 2023 MLB postseason after being swept by the Minnesota Twins, who snapped a 21-year streak of not winning a playoff series.
All four Wild Card round series ended in a sweep, but the Blue Jays did not give themselves much of a chance as they scored one run between their two playoff games.
Our article will recap both games of the Wild Card series against the Twins plus an offseason outlook for the Jays.
The Blue Jays are matched up with the Minnesota Twins in the Wild-Card round. Toronto is the third Wild-Card team (the sixth seed), while the Twins are the third seed after they won the American League Central division.
Toronto got off to a slow start in Game 1, allowing two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Essentially, this was all the Twins needed to go on to win by a score of 3-1.
Royce Lewis was the hero for the Twins, hitting a home run in each of his first two at-bats to produce all three of the Twins’ runs scored in this contest.
The Blue Jays on the other hand, got their lone run in the top of the sixth inning on a single from Kevin Kiermaier. Other than that, they went cold at the plate.
Frankly, the best part of this game for the Blue Jays was their bullpen. They combined to pitch for 5.0 innings, allowing zero earned runs and six hits while striking out six batters.
Ultimately, the losing pitcher in Game 1 was Toronto’s Kevin Gausman, who was pulled after allowing three earned runs through 4.0 innings.
The winning pitcher was Minnesota’s Pablo Lopez, who allowed one earned run over 5.2 innings.
Despite recording two more hits than the Twins in Game 2, the Jays were held scoreless in a 2-0 loss in Minneapolis.
The biggest play of the game happened with two outs and two men in scoring position during the fifth inning. Sonny Gray turned away from the batters' box and threw the ball to Carlos Correa covering second base, and he reached in time to tag Vladimir Guerrero Jr. out on the pickoff play.
Minnesota recorded their two runs the inning before with Correa batting in designated hitter Royce Lewis, and right fielder Max Kepler scoring when substitute left-fielder Willi Castro grounded into a double play.
With six players headed for free agency and 12 eligible for arbitration, there are a lot of questions facing the Blue Jays this winter.
It's easier to list the players who are under contract for next year: right-fielder George Springer, starting pitcher Kevin Gausman, starting pitcher Chris Bassitt, second baseman Whit Merrifield, starting pitcher Jose Berriors, shortstop Bo Bichette, starting pitcher Yusei Kikuchi, relief pitcher Chad Green, and relief pitcher Yimi Garcia.
Guerrero Jr., Daulton Varsho, Cavan Biggio, and Alejandro Kirk are all arbitration eligible. Players set to enter free agency include starting pitcher Jordan Hicks, designated hitter Brandon Belt, third baseman Matt Chapman, starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu, and centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier.
So, three of the Jays' nine hitters in their typical batting order plus two of their five starting pitchers could leave this offseason.
Add the fact that three starters and the first position player off their bench could see their salaries increase, and the Jays