After things had gone so so so terribly wrong over the past few days, literally everything went right last night. The Jays squeezed past the Red Sox with some small ball in the ninth inning, snapping their three-game slide, and the Orioles, Tigers, and Mariners, all teams jockeying with them for wild card spots, took a loss.
It sure as hell wasn’t pretty, last night’s game, but the result simply couldn’t have been better. Now, on the final day of the 2016 Major League Baseball season, the Jays are in complete control of their own destiny. A win will guarantee them a play-in game at Rogers centre. A loss guarantees things will be a lot more confusing.
Here’s how things can play out today for the Blue Jays, Orioles and Tigers pic.twitter.com/KMzSg2EHQG
— Arden Zwelling (@ArdenZwelling) October 2, 2016
There it is. Win and nothing matters.
If the Jays manage to come out on top tonight, the only scoreboard watching that’ll be worthwhile is what the Orioles do. If they get dropped by the Yankees again, they’ll open the door for Detroit to possibly tie them in the standings. That would be fantastic, obviously, because then those two teams would duke it out immediately before facing the Jays in the wild card game.
If they Jays lose, they can still host the wild card game, but we’ll need to do some scoreboard watching. A win by Baltimore coupled with a Toronto loss would put the Jays in that same situation I talked about in that last paragraph, in which they would be giving Detroit the opportunity to catch them with two wins.
If the Jays and Baltimore lose, all hell could break loose. The three teams, assuming Detroit wins both of their remaining games, would be tied with the same record for two wild card seeds. In that situation, teams are designated A, B, and C based on a tiebreaker. Team A plays Team B on Tuesday, the winner gets into the wild card game, and the loser travels to Team C for another chance at getting in. Fuck!
Also, according to a report that came out on Twitter (that hasn’t been verified by the team), the Orioles will voluntarily be Team C in a three-team tiebreaker situation in order to play one home game rather than two road games. That’s really, really stupid, obviously, because rather than getting two kicks you only get one, even it if it is at the friendly confines of Camden Yards. Maybe they want the ticket revenue that badly? Stupid Trash Birds!
But we’ll cross that bridge when (if) we have to, because none of that wet and wild nonsense matters if the Jays can pull out a win tonight!
Blue Jays: Devon Travis 2B, Josh Donaldson 3B, Edwin Encarnacion 1B, Jose Bautista DH, Russell Martin C, Troy Tulowitzki SS, Melvin Upton LF, Kevin Pillar CF, Zeke Carrera RF
Aaron Sanchez: 14-2, 3.06 ERA, 3.51 FIP, 1.189 WHIP, 7.7 H9, 3.0 BB9, 7.5 SO9
Red Sox: Dustin Pedroia 2B, Brock Holt 3B, Mookie Betts RF, David Ortiz DH, Hanley Ramirez 1B, Xander Bogaerts SS, Jackie Bradley CF, Sandy Leon C, Andrew Benintendi LF
David Price: 17-9, 4.04 ERA, 3.55 FIP, 1.200 WHIP, 8.9 H9, 1.9 BB9, 2.0 SO9
Here’s what the season comes down to. A game against our former friend turned foe, David Price. The ace of old against the ace of new.
We had hoped that the Sox would be playing a B lineup today, but seeing as they have home field advantage in their ALDS series with Cleveland on the line, it isn’t surprising that they aren’t mailing it in here. That said, David Price won’t be going the distance tonight and will only throw somewhere between 60-75 pitches. And based of the way he’s tossed the ball recently, that might only get him two or three innings.
In his past three starts (against the Yankees twice and Baltimore), Price has allowed 14 runs on 27 hits in just 19 1/3 innings. That’s odd, of course, because those starts came in late September, and as we know, Price doesn’t start to forget how to pitch until well into October.
Going for the Jays will be Aaron Sanchez, who will get an opportunity to redeem himself after a poor outing last time out against Boston a few weeks ago. Sanchez was tagged for six runs over just three-and-two-thirds against Boston in that 11-8 win they had on Sept. 11, but his struggled can be blamed on an ugly blister he seems to have recovered from. In his last two outings (against Seattle and Baltimore), Sanchez has been brilliant, pumping up the Cy Young case that he seemingly left behind when it was decided his action would be limited.
Let’s clinch tonight! Let’s grab a playoff spot for the second-consecutive year! Let’s screw around with Boston getting home field advantage! Let’s make David Ortiz’s final regular season game in Boston very forgettable! Let’s fucking do it!