The Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles are just hours away from a do-or-die Wild Card game that will catapult one team into the ALCS against the Texas Rangers.
Marcus Stroman received the starting nod from manager John Gibbons yesterday and will face Chris Tillman beginning at 8:08 p.m. ET.
With a long, anxious day ahead for Blue Jays fans, here is some suggested reading and listening:
Wild Card Roster
Being a one-game playoff, the Blue Jays and Orioles have the ability to optimize their Wild Card rosters by excluding unnecessary starting pitchers.
Jays Nest Podcast, Episode 93
In a special episode of The Jays Nest Podcast, coming at you one day early, Shaun Doyle of Jays From the Couch and I walk you through a full preview of the Wild Card game and what to expect. We also discuss the decision to start Marcus Stroman, enjoy another round of “Fill in the Blank”, and take your listener questions.
The art of pinch-running
Dalton Pompey is listed on the Wild Card roster and, should the Blue Jays advance, will likely be carried throughout the playoffs as a situational pinch-runner. On a team that does lack team speed in some spots, Pompey’s abilities on the bases could make or break a game for Toronto in the late innings. In this piece for Sportsnet, Pompey speaks with Arden Zwelling about the unique gig.
“It’s crazy. It’s absolutely crazy,” Pompey told Zwelling. “When I come into a game, it’s always such an intense moment. Everything’s on the line. You’re there on the bench for the whole game, but there’s no easing into it. It just goes zero to 100. But you live for those moments. Those are moments you’re never going to forget. There’s just nothing like it.”
Which version of Chris Tillman is this?
Chris Tillman’s 2016 season has been a very good one, and likely carried (dragged) the Orioles starting rotation into the playoffs. Rachel Brady looked at this new version of Tillman for the Globe & Mail, which is especially interesting given his history at the Rogers Centre.
Travis gets his turn
Devon Travis was forced to watch the Blue Jays 2015 playoff run as he dealt with a shoulder injury, but is savouring his first opportunity to be involved as he told Alykhan Ravjiani of MLB.com. Now back to full health after an offseason procedure, Travis has been a spark plug atop the lineup and provided a great value to the club.
“It’s unbelievable when you think about it,” Travis told Ravjiani. “It’s really something where being back with these guys was huge and now to have a chance to do this with them is really exciting.”