The Toronto Blue Jays have a long road ahead of them.
Toronto recorded 10 hits over two games at Progressive Field, but scored just a single run and couldn’t back up excellent efforts from starters Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ. As a result, the Blue Jays find themselves down 2-0 to the Cleveland Indians in the ALCS as they head home to what will surely be a raucous and deafening Rogers Centre.
“Our back’s against the wall,” manger John Gibbons told reporters, according to Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith. “That’s pretty obvious.”
This isn’t unfamiliar territory for these Blue Jays, of course. In last year’s ALCS they dropped the opening two games in Kansas City, then stormed back to grab an 11-8 victory in Game 3 at home. Despite the outburst, the Blue Jays ended up dropping that series to the Royals in six games.
While the prospects of coming back appear to be grim, it’s not without precedent. If a little home cooking can get the Blue Jays’ bats back on track and push them to a World Series berth it would be just the fourth time in ALCS history that a team erased a 2-0 deficit to win the pennant. So don’t get too down, Blue Jays fans: Here’s a look at the other three American League teams who’ve pulled it off.
1982 Milwaukee Brewers
The ALCS was still a best-of-five in 1982, and the California Angels weren’t messing around to start this series; they took the first two games at Anaheim Stadium behind complete-game efforts from Tommy John and Bruce Kison. But once the Brewers reached Milwaukee their fortunes turned, and they stormed back to stun the Angels and tie the series at 2-2. Cecil Cooper’s seventh-inning single in Game 5 served as the series-winning hit to lift the Brewers to their first World Series appearance.
1985 Kansas City Royals
Look away, Blue Jays fans. In the franchise’s first-ever playoff series, Toronto grabbed the first two games at Exhibition Stadium with ease, but George Brett put the Royals on his back once the teams got to Kansas City and made that 2-0 lead a moot point. Although the Blue Jays took a 3-1 series lead, the Royals stunned Toronto with another comeback to grab the 1985 pennant in seven games.
2004 Boston Red Sox
Terry Francona can give his Indians a first-hand reminder of why they shouldn’t get too excited over their 2-0 lead – after all, he was behind the Red Sox bench in 2004. Boston went down 3-0 at the hands of the Yankees, but a Dave Roberts steal in the ninth inning of Game 4 changed everything. David Ortiz began to write his legend with two walk-off hits in Games 4 and 5, and the Red Sox capped it off with wins at Yankee Stadium to turn the tables on their archrivals and win their first pennant since 1986, completing the most miraculous comeback in baseball history.