Not a whole lot of setup needed for this one, eh? No subplots, no intrigue, no frills on the periphery.
It’s September 9th, the Jays and Red Sox are separated by a game at the top of the AL East, and here we go with the opener of a huge clash between the two teams. Marco Estrada, who has been magnificent all season (but moreso early on than of late, I must admit) and the frustratingly not-terrible Rick Porcello going toe-to-toe. Ortiz and Betts and Bogaerts and Pedroia and Ramirez against Donaldson and Bautista and Encarnacion and Tulowitzki and Travis.
You can’t ask much better. There’s no thrill of victory without adversity, and the Blue Jays are right in the fucking thick of it now. Let’s do this!
No Russell Martin tonight for the Jays, which one assumes is to give his aching knee a little bit of rest, and because there’s a lot of confidence having Dioner Navarro catching Marco Estrada, given that they worked to such tremendous effect last season. And while you might complain about Martin not even being at DH, the Jays are at least going with Jose Bautista in that spot, meaning Melvin Upton is in the outfield.
Mike Wilner tweets that the Jays won’t wait until Sunday to honour David Ortiz — they’ll do something for him tonight, so get your goddamn boos ready. But before that Olympic gold medalist Penny Oleksiak will throw out the first pitch, so get your cheers ready, too. (Especially if there’s an Aaron Hill appearance at some point! And also… y’know… if the Jays actually show up for this one.)
Shi Davidi appears to have been the first to tweet that Francisco Liriano is being considered to start on Monday, which may impact his availability out of the bullpen this weekend. So… uh… Matt Dermody gonna see some Bradley or Ortiz? [Collar-Tug.GIF]
Next Game(s): Tomorrow vs. Red Sox, 1:07 PM ET; Sunday vs. Red Sox, 1:07 PM ET
AL East Standings: BOS (-), TOR (1), BAL (2), NYY (4), TBR (19)
And now, the lineups…