For only the second time in franchise history, the Toronto Blue Jays are playing a series at Wrigley Field. That is quite remarkable when you think of it because Interleague Play began in 1997, and in 20 years the only time Toronto had ever played at the historic baseball park in Chicago was in 2005 when they won two of three games against the Cubs.
After losing 7-4 to the Cubs on Friday, Toronto has two key games in Chicago this weekend, (Sportsnet, Saturday and Sunday, 11am PT). In order for the Blue Jays to win the three game series, they will need the Nick Tepesch that showed up against the Tampa Bay Rays and not the Nick Tepesch who pitched last week against the New York Yankees.
Last week, Tepesch gave up five earned runs in only four and a third innings in an 11-5 loss to the Yankees. Then on Monday, he was brilliant as he gave up only one earned run in six innings in a 2-1 Blue Jays win over the Rays. Tepesch will get the start on Saturday against Cubs starting pitcher Jose Quintana.
Tepesch and Quintana have something in common, as they began the year in the American League Central. Tepesch was with the Minnesota Twins and Quintana was with the Chicago White Sox. The difference is Quintana was an all-star last season as he won a career high 13 games.
On Sunday, the Blue Jays will need a strong performance from Marco Estrada, who will be pleased he will be facing the Cubs and not the Rays. In four games against the Rays this year, he has given up 22 earned runs in only 18 2/3 innings for an earned run average of 10.61. Against everyone else, Estrada has given up 57 earned runs in 121 innings for a much better earned run average of 4.24.
Just as soon as you thought the Blue Jays were out of contention for the second wildcard spot, they find a way to get back into the American League wildcard race. Even though the Blue Jays need to catch seven teams to get the final playoff spot, one cannot ignore that they are only currently three and a half games back of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. With 40 games left in the 2017 Major League Baseball season, that is definitely within striking distance.
The other event with Canadian content I will be keeping an eye on this weekend is the ABC Supply 500 from Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. The race will feature James Hinchcliffe of Oakville, Ontario, who is currently tenth in the IndyCar standings. The race can be seen on Sportsnet 360 at 11am PT.