With the Blue Jays competing in one of the toughest divisions in baseball, the chance to see Toronto in the post-season anytime soon is slim.
However, the fact that Toronto is not participating in the playoffs doesn’t mean Canada will not be represented on baseball diamonds across America in October.
Joey Votto leads the Canuck charge for the post-season. The Etobicoke native is having the best season of his career, establishing himself as the Cincinnati Reds’ leader and a favourite for the National League MVP.
The first baseman ranks third in home runs (37), third in RBIs (111), and second with a .325average. Those numbers are a key factor in Cincinnati clinching the National League Central title.
Despite being injured, Justin Morneau will be part of the AL Central champion Minnesota Twins’ roster come playoff time. Many are counting out the slugger, but it would be too quick to assume the 2006 AL MVP won’t have chance.
The BC native, who has been out since July 7 because of a concussion, is set to take batting and fielding practice with the Twins prior to the post-season.
Morneau appears primed for pinch-hitting when his number is called.
He had an impressive first half, hitting .345 – a performance that made him the starting first baseman in the all star game.
Morneau would later pull out from the event due to the concussion.
Canadian pitching will also be represented in the fall.
Jesse Crain will join Morneau with Minnesota. The right-hander has been a solid reliever throughout the season and will set-up closer Matt Capps.
Crain, from Toronto, has a solid 2.55 ERA and his effectiveness has earned him the confidence of manager Ron Gardenhire.
Rich Harden: The 2010 season has been a nightmare for Texas Rangers pitcher. The right-hander began the season as one of the possible aces, but continuous meltdowns sent him to the bullpen.
The Victoria, BC local could still earn a spot in the rotation for the playoffs.
Scott Mathieson: The 26-year-old reliever could obtain a spot with the Philadelphia Phillies if he stays healthy. The righty, born in Vancouver, is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right lateral muscle.
Matt Stairs: The veteran pinch hitter’s chances of playing in October all depend on his team. The San Diego Padres are two games behind the Atlanta Braves for the NL wild card race.
If the Padres make it to the post-season, the 42-year-old will definitely play a big part in San Diego’s possible run. Stairs, of Saint John, N.B., extended his all-time major-league record for pinch-hit home runs with 23 on Sept. 14.