Rays-Blue Jays Preview

The Toronto Blue Jays are hardly satisfied even upon ending baseball's longest postseason drought.

And why would they be after securing one of the more anticlimactic playoff berths in major league history?

After finally celebrating a playoff spot a day after actually earning it, the Blue Jays look to take another step closer to the AL East title by sweeping a three-game series from the Tampa Bay Rays in Sunday's home finale.

Toronto's magic number to clinch a playoff spot was reduced to one after Friday's series-opening win, and it stayed there after the Los Angeles Angels defeated Seattle.

In the overnight hours, however, it became apparent that the Blue Jays (89-65) had in fact clinched their first playoff berth since 1993 because the three AL West teams vying for a spot - Texas, Houston and the Angels - all still play each other, making it impossible for all three to win as many games as Toronto already has.

Just for good measure, the Blue Jays officially cut their magic number to zero by beating the Rays 10-8 on Saturday. They followed up with a raucous champagne and beer celebration but insist their work isn't done.

"We expect to have another one of these when we win the division," Jose Bautista said. "That's our goal."

Toronto leads the second-place New York Yankees by four games with eight to play.

The Blue Jays have won five of six over the Rays (75-80) and conclude the season with three at Tampa Bay. Bautista has been instrumental to that success, hitting home runs Nos. 38 and 39 on Saturday to give him five homers in his last four against Tampa Bay.

Toronto is tied with the Astros for the AL's best home record at 52-28 and can match the 1992 club for the second-most home wins in team history. The 1985 team went a franchise-best 54-26.

Mark Buehrle (14-7, 3.69 ERA) gets the ball in what will be the final home game before a likely playoff date with his chances of extending his string of consecutive 200-inning seasons in serious jeopardy.

Buehrle is 14 2-3 innings away from joining Hall of Famers Warren Spahn, Don Sutton and Gaylord Perry as the only pitchers to have tossed at least 200 in 15 straight seasons since 1901, but with only two starts remaining, time isn't on his side.

He also has seemingly hit a wall, going six innings or less in each of his last six starts. The veteran left-hander has a 5.65 ERA with opponents batting .390 against him in three starts this month with the Blue Jays losing each. Buehrle went 1-1 with a 6.17 ERA in two April starts against the Rays and hasn't faced them since.

Tampa Bay counters with Matt Andriese (3-5, 4.37), who has made 10 relief appearances since starting at Kansas City on July 7. In the midst of his fifth stint in the majors this year, Andriese has a 5.27 ERA in 15 relief outings but a 3.62 ERA in seven starts.

In two starts against the Blue Jays - the last coming June 22 - the rookie right-hander is 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA.

Edwin Encarnacion is 0 for 5 against Andriese, while Josh Donaldson is 2 for 4. Backup catcher Dioner Navarro is likely to start since he's 3 for 3 with a homer and double against Andriese and 9 for 21 with two home runs and two doubles in his last five games.

Evan Longoria is batting .340 over 47 career at-bats against Buehrle and Logan Forsythe is hitting .409 with four doubles in 22 at-bats in their matchups.

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