Game Threat: Welcome to the Terrordome, Blue Jays (86-69) vs. Yankees (79-76)

JA Happ
Awesome image via @JAHappster

This image again? Fuck yeah, this image again! Seems every time I use it Happ pitches a good game, which… at this point is just about every game he pitches. Which is, of course, amazing and weird and amazingly weird and weirdly amazing.

Speaking of Happ, he’s taken the early lead in the new sidebar poll we have up, which asks you who the Jays should turn to when it comes time to pick a starter for the Wild Card play-in game. They may not have the luxury of choosing, of course, and they may not even make it, but they could certainly do worse than Happ — who, as is noted in the string of tweets after Drew mentioned that this was the subject of his latest Birds All Day mini episode, would likely give the Orioles fits, given that they’ve been total dogshit against lefties this year.

But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves! The Jays have a chance to make it a four game sweep of the Yankees tonight, which would serve the dual purpose of truly putting a nail in the Yankees’ coffin and pushing the Orioles to two games back of the Jays. The Yankees thing is just kinda funny, of course. Putting Baltimore back two games, though, means that the Orioles would have to sweep the Jays in the series that begins here tomorrow night in order to pass them in the Wild Card race.

So… that’s something?

I don’t know. Just winning is really the big thing, I guess. The Jays control their own fate still, and will continue to do so as long as they keep winning, so… maybe just keep doing that? Sounds like a plan to me!

Scuttlebutt

Arden Zwelling tweets that both Roberto Osuna and Joaquin Benoit aren’t available to pitch tonight (because they’ve thrown so much of late). Mike Wilner adds that this means Jason Grilli will likely be called upon to close, if the good guys end up winning this one.

Shi Davidi tweets the probable pitchers for the upcoming series against Baltimore: Gausman vs. Sanchez, Tillman vs. Liriano, Jimenez vs. Stroman.

That sets up Aaron Sanchez for the final game of the season in Fenway, but he’ll likely be held back for the Wild Card play-in game if the Jays have already clinched home field in that. That’s especially true, Ben Nicholson-Smith notes, if the Jays end up facing the Tigers, as Sanchez has had success this year against Detroit’s right-handed heavy lineup. (I do seem to recall Miguel Cabrera being rather impressed with Sanchez earlier this season.) Benny Fresh also notes that John Gibbons says he’s got two or three options he could turn to in the play-in game — presumably meaning Happ would get some consideration against the Orioles, if that’s a thing they’re able to do.

Alykhan Ravjiani tweets that Yankees starter Luis Severino, who has been pitching out of the bullpen of late, will be limited to just 50 pitches tonight. Hey, pitching changes — Joe Girardi’s favourite things (save, of course, for being a fucking whiner). He adds that Masahiro Tanaka, who was skipped in this series due to injury, is expected to see a doctor tomorrow in New York, and if all goes well he’ll start again on Saturday — which is good news for the Jays, as that would mean he faces the Orioles.

Alykhan also notes that this will be the final road game of Mark Teixeira’s career, which… OK?

TV: Sportsnet
Next Game(s): Tomorrow vs. Orioles, 7:07 PM ET
AL Wild Card StandingsTOR (+1.5), BAL (-), DET (1.5), SEA (2.5), HOU (3)
And now, the lineups…

Toronto Blue Jays

Devon Travis(R) 2B
Josh Donaldson(R) 3B
Edwin Encarnacion(R) DH
Jose Bautista(R) RF
Russell Martin(R) C
Troy Tulowitzki(R) SS
Michael Saunders(L) LF
Justin Smoak(S) 1B
Kevin Pillar(R) CF
J.A. Happ LHP

New York Yankees

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