Game Threat: No Compassion, Blue Jays (87-70) vs. Orioles (85-72)

Francisco Liriano
Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Orioles, as I mentioned earlier today when talking about how the Jays might/should setup their playoff rotation, have been godawful against left-handed pitching this season. As a team they’ve posted just an 83 wRC+ in the split.

Meanwhile, in three starts since he’s returned to the rotation from a spell in the bullpen, Blue Jays lefty Francisco Liriano has pitched to a 1.96 ERA, with just 12 hits and five walks in 18.1 innings while striking out 16.

Sorry Pirates fans! He might be back to his old self after being reunited with Russell Martin.

I mean, it’s a little early to say that, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. But also… let’s not not be excited about the possibility of Liriano mowing down the Orioles and pushing the Jays that much closer to securing a berth in the Wild Card play-in game.

Because that sounds pretty awesome, amiright? Let’s do this!

Scuttlebutt

According to a tweet from Alykhan Ravjiani, when asked about a timeline for Devon Travis — who, you may have heard, is out with a shoulder injury that was aggravated in the Great Stupidity on Monday night — John Gibbons replied, “He’s making progress. We’ll see.” Clever answer, Gibbers, but that’s not a timeline.

If this didn’t make it clear, and if you haven’t looked below at tonight’s lineups, Travis is out again tonight. And Zeke is in again as the lead-off hitter, which… if it ain’t broke…

Brendan Kennedy tweets that his tip sheet for this game, which is over at the Toronto Star, notes that Chris Tillman has long struggled against the Jays, and at the Rogers Centre in particular. 

Ben Nicholson-Smith tweets that John Gibbons says Roberto Osuna is available to pitch tonight, though he adds that Joe Biagini will likely get the night off.

In another Benny Fresh tweet he quotes Buck Showalter, who says that the Jays have made their biggest leap as a team because “they really defend so much better than they did three years ago.” The Jays, Brendan Kennedy adds, have turned 78% of balls in play into outs this year, which is second in baseball behind the Cubs. It’s almost — almost — like Kevin Pillar and Troy Tulowitzki are significantly better defenders than Colby Rasmus and Jose Reyes. Almost.

TV: Sportsnet
Next Game(s): Tomorrow vs. Orioles, 7:07 PM ET
AL Wild Card StandingsTOR (+2), BAL (-), DET (1), SEA (1.5), HOU (3)
And now, the lineups…

Toronto Blue Jays

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

Baltimore Orioles

Adam Jones(R) CF
Chris Davis(L) 1B
Manny Machado(R) 3B
Mark Trumbo(R) RF
Trey Mancini(R) DH
Matt Wieters(S) C
J.J. Hardy(R) SS
Jonathan Schoop(R) 2B
Nolan Reimold(R) LF
Chris Tillman RHP