The Toronto Blue Jays have announced that Marco Estrada will get the start in game one of the American League Championship Series against the Cleveland Indians on Friday night.
Estrada earned the nod with one of his strongest outings as a Blue Jay in game one of the ALDS against the Texas Rangers. He threw eight and a third innings on just 98 pitches, coming up just short of the team’s first complete game of the season. Estrada allowed just one run on four hits, striking out six and not allowing a walk.
This decision for Gibbons was also made easier by his starter’s rest schedules as Estrada will be working on a full week’s rest this Friday. Pushing him to game two or three of the series could have thrown him too far off his regular season rhythm.
J.A. Happ will now line up on extra rest for a game early in the series, so the most prominent decision for Gibbons will be whether he turns to Sanchez or Stroman first. Sanchez will be well-rested, but is continuing to build upon a career high workload while Stroman has not pitched since October 4th in the Wild Card game.
Gibbons added that Devon Travis is looking better and should be on track to return from his knee injury in time to be included on the ALCS roster. Another variable at play is the health of Francisco Liriano, who is currently on the seven-day concussion disabled list and eligible to return in time for game two of the series. His status could also impact that of Dalton Pompey, who would ideally be rostered as a situational pinch-runner.