Game Threat: Are we beginning to see the light?, Blue Jays (83-69) vs. Yankees (79-73)

Francisco Liriano
Photo credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees are not yet out of it, and they’re the Yankees, so they’re not going to be pushovers like the fucking Twins (who gifted a pair of wins to the Tigers yesterday, letting Detroit slip into the second Wild Card spot for the time being). And there’s always a chance that a fucking no name pitcher, like whoeverthefuck they’re sending to the hill tonight, will inexplicably baffle the Jays all night. But holy shit, let’s do this.

Back home for the last home games of the regular season — perhaps of the season, perhaps of John Gibbons’ second tenure as manager, perhaps of Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion’s Blue Jays careers — this really is it for the Jays. Or the beginning of it.

Fans get so focussed on the playoffs that it’s sometimes easy to forget that the situation this team is fighting for, and we’re aching for along with them, is basically already here. You want games with all the meaning, with everything on the line, with every pitch a must-watch, that determine the success or failure of a team and a season? Well they’re right fuckin’ here.

And they’re damn terrifying!

The Yankees and Orioles and Red Sox aren’t exactly easy opponents. And if the Orioles take two of three from the Jays next week, and win their final two series’ by the same margin, they’d end up at 88-74. That’s the same record the Tigers reach if they split four games with Cleveland and get 2-1 series wins against Kansas City and in Atlanta.

In that scenario, were the Blue Jays to go .500 over their remaining ten games — i.e. splitting with the Yankees and winning at Fenway — they’d end up at 88-74, too. The tiebreakers may be on their side, but there’s still not a whole lot of room for error there. Not a whole lot of room for losses.

Shit, this is big.


Scuttlebutt

Via a Mike Wilner tweet, Ryan Goins speaks truth about teammate Devon Travis. “Everybody needs to sit back, relax, watch this guy play and enjoy it. He deserves to be out there playing second base every night.” YASSSSSS.

The Yankees made it official today that Masahiro Tanaka will not start in this series against the Jays, meanwhile Alykhan Ravjiani tweets that Joe Girardi says he “isn’t counting on” having second baseman Starlin Castro in the series either.

Preeeeeetty sure the Yankees starter tonight is the guy who returned kicks for Washington in Tecmo Super Bowl.

TV: Sportsnet
Next Game(s): Saturday vs. Yankees, 4:07 PM ET; Sunday vs. Yankees, 1:07 PM ET
AL Wild Card StandingsTOR (+1), DET (-), BAL (0.5), HOU (1.5), SEA (2)
And now, the lineups…

Toronto Blue Jays

Devon Travis(R) 2B
Josh Donaldson(R) 3B
Edwin Encarnacion(R) 1B
Jose Bautista(R) DH
Russell Martin(R) C
Troy Tulowitzki(R) SS
Michael Saunders(L) RF
Kevin Pillar(R) CF
Ezequiel Carrera(L) LF
Francisco Liriano LHP

New York Yankees

Brett Gardner(L) LF
Jacoby Ellsbury(L) CF
Gary Sanchez(R) DH
Billy Butler(R) 1B
Didi Gregorius(L) SS
Chase Headley(S) 3B
Aaron Hicks(S) RF
Austin Romine(R) C
Ronald Torreyes(R) 2B
Bryan Mitchell RHP