Blue Jays face a potential starting pitching dilemma in Game 162

New York Yankees v Toronto Blue Jays
New York Yankees v Toronto Blue Jays / Mark Blinch/GettyImages

The Toronto Blue Jays are oh-so close to a spot in the 2023 playoffs. With three games remaining in the regular season, all of which are against the Tampa Bay Rays, the Blue Jays could have a postseason birth clinched by tonight with a win today and a Seattle or Houston loss. And regardless of how the Mariners or Astros fare, the Blue Jays magic number to clinch a postseason berth is two.

Should the Blue Jays clinch their spot in the postseason today or tomorrow, this makes the final game of the regular season essentially meaningless, meaning a large number of key players will likely get the day off to rest up for the Wild Card match-up which would start on Tuesday.

Currently lined up to start game 162 on Sunday is Kevin Gausman. Gausman is almost certainly going to be the team's Game 1 Wild Card starter, should they make it to that position, so clinching their spot in the postseason over the next two games is crucial to keep Gausman rested and ready for the postseason.

Should everything go to plan for Toronto and game 162 is "meaningless", this means someone will have to take Gausman's spot as Sunday's starter. With Yusei Kikuchi confirmed for Friday's start and Hyun Jin Ryu likely for Saturday, that takes both of them out of the conversation for Sunday.

A bullpen day is an option, and is probably the likeliest possibility at the moment. Bowden Francis is an option to start that game, and could serve as the "bulk guy". Francis is not currently on the Major League roster, though, as he's in Triple-A Buffalo, and calling him up could be tricky as the club then risks losing someone like Jay Jackson to waivers. Should they not call up Francis, a regular bullpen day perhaps led by Trevor Richards is an option as well.