The Toronto Blue Jays aren't only racing other teams to capture a wild card spot, but they're also playing against the clock.
And the clock is ticking.
Toronto just finished a series against the lowly Seattle Mariners, owners of a 50-57 record and last place in the American League West Division.
The difference between these two ball clubs lies in their last 10 games. Toronto is 4-5—representative of the .500 baseball they've been playing all season—while Seattle is 8-2.
If you thought playing in the A.L. East was tough, let's look at the Mariners' conundrum.
The other three teams in their division are the Texas Rangers (division leaders and World Series favorites), the Los Angeles Angels (wild card leaders and also World Series contenders) and the Oakland Athletics (surprise team of 2012 and owners of the second wild card).
The Mariners have no choice but to play stellar baseball because if they don't, they'll be embarrassed in their own park—something they didn't allow against the Blue Jays.
Toronto went into Safeco Field riding a series win over the Detroit Tigers, showing everyone that they still have some life left in them. Then they gave it away, getting swept by the Mariners, outscored 16-6 in the process.
I understand Toronto has been going through a rough patch, but it's becoming a redundant habit they need to fix.
The Blue Jays have 18 series left to play in 2012. The vast majority of them are against division leaders, wild card holders or contenders in either or.
It doesn't get easier from here.
Toronto needs to act fast if they want to make any sort of playoff push. They can't win two, lose three and so on because playing .500 baseball won't get them into the playoffs.
Either that or begin rebuilding for 2013, because time is no longer on their side.