Goal of first playoff berth since '93 comes up short

Goal of first playoff berth since '93 comes up short

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays' shot at the postseason -- which once looked so promising -- officially came to an end on Tuesday night.

Toronto defeated the Mariners, 10-2, at Rogers Centre but was eliminated from the race when Kansas City cruised to a victory over the Indians. The writing had been on the wall for well over a week, but it wasn't until Game No. 157 that the dream actually died.

The Blue Jays will now have plenty of time to reflect on where things went wrong in 2014. The club that once had a six-game lead in the American League East -- and held onto an AL Wild Card spot until early August -- didn't finish as expected and was forced into the role of spoiler down the stretch.

"I think it was a disappointment," starter R.A. Dickey said when asked to reflect on the year. "Having not gotten to the postseason, again, with a team that I felt was very capable. Of course, we're all disappointed and we should be. Everybody in here should be disappointed.

"You have to learn, you have to grow, you have to look for opportunities to see how you can improve and get better, otherwise the season is lost. So I think now you're seeing some guys that are being evaluated and can hopefully help us next year. Because if you don't do that, if you don't take opportunities to do that, then not only is it a disappointing season, it's a failure."

Toronto is now dangerously close to taking over as the franchise with the longest postseason drought in the Major Leagues. Kansas City hasn't qualified for the postseason since 1985, but that could be about to end as the Royals' victory on Tuesday combined with Seattle's loss meant they have a three-game lead for the second Wild Card spot.

The Blue Jays haven't made the postseason since they won the World Series in 1993. For several months it looked like this would be the season that skid would come to an end, but instead it has been extended to 21 years and counting. There was meaningful baseball in September, but not for as long as the club initially expected.

The vast majority of Toronto's problems came in August, when the club went 9-17 and won only two series. That cost it the second Wild Card spot, and despite a push in early September, it proved to be too much to overcome.

There were some issues with the lineup, problems on defense and ill-timed blowups with the bullpen. Still, considering the Blue Jays held onto first place for longer than any time since 1993, this season, more than any other, will be remembered as the one that got away.

"A lot of good times, a lot of tough times," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "In the end, the teams that get there earn it, the best teams go. The ones that aren't, don't go. That's just the way it is when you play that many games."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.