Blue Jays Swept by Seattle, Leaving Questions for Toronto Club
Sports Oct 12, 2022 Evan Gravelle
Rogers Centre geared up to host the first home playoff series since 2016 this past weekend.
Every seat was fitted with a ‘rally towel,’ a tradition initially popularized by the Pittsburgh Steelers, designed to be swung around by fans in critical moments to distract opposing players and push the home team to rally. The fans would need them from the first inning of the first game against the Seattle Mariners on Friday.
“It was a punch in the gut,” one Toronto fan named Andrew said, “to go down early and not be able to muster any runs, you could feel the air come out of the building.”
The game began with Julio Rodriguez being hit by a pitch from Alek Manoah. Ty France proceeded to ground out, moving Rodriguez to second. Eugenio Suarez doubled to score Rodriguez, and then Cal Raleigh, who had clinched the Mariners first playoff appearance in two decades with a walk-off home run, left the yard with a two-run blast. Seventeen pitches into the game, the Blue Jays were down three to nothing. The Blue Jays did not plate a run in the contest and lost 4-0.
But the series continued on Saturday. In a do-or-die game for the Jays, they took an eight-to-one lead against the Mariners, only for Seattle to claw their way back and win 10-9. It was the largest comeback in postseason history on the road. Fans reacted with disbelief and bemusement. An 8-1 lead, one that felt so safe, had crumbled before their very eyes.
The sweep has left Toronto sports fans comparing the Jays collapse to the Toronto Maple Leafs playoff disappointments and has left questions for the front office and management of the baseball club.
Pulling pitcher Kevin Gausman in the sixth inning with only one run for the Mariners will be criticized for years to come. Tim Mayza came on in relief with the bases loaded and immediately threw a wild pitch that scored a run, and then gave up a home run to Carlos Santana that made the score 8-5. He had thrown three pitches. The Blue Jays bullpen proceeded to allow five more runs to the Mariners. All the work Gausman had done was erased by mediocrity.
Epic collapses tend to follow a team and cloud the vision for the future. While this Blue Jays team has played with championship energy the past few seasons, they have yet to hoist a banner over the Rogers Centre bleachers, and this historic loss puts a wrench in their plans to do so. As a result, this offseason will be one where hard questions are asked about the future of this franchise, their championship window, and the personnel on and off the field. Blue Jays fans hope that there are satisfying answers at the end.