The Toronto Blue Jays will take the field at the Rogers Centre this Friday to kick off a best of three American League Wild Card series against the Seattle Mariners.
The question is, who will take the mound?
This is not a hard question to answer, however, it could get complex if the series gets rocky. The Blue Jays have a phenomenal offence on paper, which has translated off paper in many offensive statistical categories. As long as the bats stay hot, we’ll be in the driver seat. This is parallel to our pitching, which is always a hot topic come postseason time. How would our pitching line up in this series? How do we position our starters, and what is our contingency if things don’t go as planned?
Blue Jays: How Toronto Pitching should line up for the 2022 American League Wild Card Series
A best of three series is the absolute perfect scenario that the Blue Jays can fathom and navigate with their current pitching rotation and bullpen staff. Now that we know we’re hosting Seattle, the Blue Jays will best line up with Alek Manoah in Game 1, Kevin Gausman in Game 2, and a possible combination, led by Ross Stripling in an “if needed” Game 3.
Manoah gets the ball in Game 1 as was announced already by the team; this is the intensity and grit you want to start the series off with. Manoah is the image you’d want left in your opponents mind, setting a competitive tone with a go-getter approach. Alek will likely offer up 7-8 innings on a good day, with the ability to go the mile, if not setting it up for Adam Cimber or Jordan Romano.
Manoah has 16 wins, seven losses with a 2.24 ERA in 196.2 inning this season. He’s struck out 180 hitters, only giving up 51 walks . Manoah threw against Seattle back in July where he went 7.1 innings, striking out seven, walking four and giving up two earned runs in a 2-1 loss. He faced 28 Mariners hitters throwing 103 pitches with 62 of those being strikes, forcing six ground outs and four fly-outs. Former Blue Jays lefty, Robbie Ray went 6.0 innings in that match giving up only one run and striking out six. Ray has gone an even 12-12 on the season so far with a 3.71 ERA; he’s one of the Mariner’s elite arms we’ll see in either game 1 or 2 of this series.
Kevin Gausman is the probable Game 2 pitcher. Gausman has a 12-10 season record with a 3.35 ERA. He faced the Mariners back in May in a 5-1 loss, going 5.0 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits. Since then Gausman has been effective and in his groove.
The Blue Jays can also expect to see RHP Luis Castillo, along with Logan Gilbert and/or combination with George Kirby in a Game 3 if needed. Toronto may depend on RHP Ross Stripling, possibly combined with RHP Jose Berrios In a possible Game 3 scenario. Stripling has emerged as a reliable starter option, throwing 134.1 innings for Toronto, posting a 3.01 ERA with 111 strikeouts, and a 10-4 record.
The pitching will be the critical point in this series. Blue Jays starters will be required to provide depth into games, setting up the late inning relief to secure a win, complimented by a dangerous offensive lineup.