Blue Jays' home-field hopes hinge on Royals
Toronto owns tiebreaker, so club can earn top seed in AL with win Sunday and KC loss
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Blue Jays no longer control their own fate when it comes to home-field advantage throughout the postseason. That lies in the hands of the Royals.
Toronto lost its handle on the situation when Tampa Bay's Tim Beckham hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth inning on Saturday night. That sent the Blue Jays to a 4-3 defeat, which dropped them to one game back of the Royals heading into the final day of the regular season.
The Blue Jays own the tiebreaker vs. the Royals after winning the season series, 4-3, which means a Toronto win combined with a Kansas City loss would clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
"I haven't even given that any thought," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said in reference to losing control of the standings. "I don't get caught up in that right now. We go out and try to win our games and let everything fall in place."
The team that finishes with the best record in the American League will face the winner of Tuesday's Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser in the AL Division Series. The club that finishes second will face the winner of the AL West in the ALDS, which starts Thursday.
The Yankees have clinched one of the two AL Wild Card spots, but everything else after that is up in the air. Entering play on Sunday, Texas has a one-game lead over Houston for the AL West title. The Astros currently have the second AL Wild Card, but even that's not guaranteed with the Angels trailing them by one game. At this point, many scenarios are in play.
Toronto previously clinched home-field advantage in the ALDS, and the AL has home-field advantage in the World Series after winning this year's All-Star Game. That leaves the AL Championship Series as the one series where home-field advantage has yet to be determined from Toronto's perspective.
"For us, we've been so good at home," said Gibbons, whose team finished with a 53-28 record at home. "We're a home run hitting team, and it's a great place to hit; it's a great home run hitting park. Look at what our crowd's turn into; not just big crowds but crazy crowds. That's got to help, I would think.
"I know everybody gets juiced up in the playoffs everywhere you go, but there's something different about what we've been experiencing these last couple of months. I don't know how it could work against you, I'll put it that way."