If the Toronto Blue Jays want to be considered a playoff contender in the second half of the season they'll first need to get to the .500 mark.
The 34-35 Jays can reach that elusive number for the first time of their trying 2017 season with a win tonight against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington.
In fact this will be their eighth attempt at reaching the .500 mark this season. Toronto has had plenty of opportunities (two of which were in the first week) to get even, but have failed each and every time.
Since fighting back from a miserable 8-17 April to start 2017, the Jays had a chance to reach .500 with a win against the New York Yankees on June 1. They were pounded 12-2.
The Jays failed on the next four opportunities as well.
Take a look at what has happened each time the Jays have been a single win away from .500 this season.
Lucky No. 8?
|Wednesday, April 5||0-1||Baltimore Orioles||L - 3-1||Second game of season|
|Friday, April 7||1-2||Tampa Bay Rays||L - 10-8||Starter Francisco Liriano lasts 1/3 of an inning|
|Thursday, June 1||26-27||New York Yankees||L - 12-2||Gary Sanchez hits two home runs off Marco Estrada|
|Saturday, June 3||27-28||New York Yankees||L - 7-0||Reliever Jason Grilli allows four home runs in 2/3 of an inning|
|Monday, June 5||28-29||Oakland Athletics||L - 5-3||Ryon Healy hits two homers off J.A. Happ|
|Tuesday, June 13||31-32||Tampa Bay Rays||L - 8-1||Starter Marco Estrada allows six runs and 12 hits in 3.1 innings|
|Friday, June 16||32-33||Chicago White Sox||L - 11-4||Former Jay Melky Cabrera records five RBIs|
As you can see, some of Toronto's worst performances this season have been in games in which they can reach the .500 mark. The Blue Jays have allowed an average of eights runs and have been outscored 56-19 in these contests.
Last night in Texas, the Jays scored twice in the ninth to take a one run advantage over the Rangers before Roberto Osuna closed out the game with his 18th save of the season in the bottom half.
Manager John Gibbons will give the ball to Francisco Liriano (3-2, 5.36 ERA) Tuesday night as he will square off against righty Nick Martinez (1-3, 4.67 ERA). Liriano had a chance to get the Jays to .500 earlier this season, but that was way back in the first week of April.
If the southpaw can get it done against the rival Rangers, the Jays can finally say they are a .500 baseball team. And then the march to a third consecutive postseason appearance can really begin.