Wild Card Threat: Blue Jays vs. Orioles

Marcus Stroman
Photo Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Blue Jays overload day! The one where no one in the country can seem to move their lips without the words “Blue Jays” or “Stroman” or “Gibbons” coming out. The one where the whole world’s attention feels like it has singularly turned to the team folks like us have followed obsessively all the way along, and where every angle of tonight’s game gets dissected, every quote breathlessly relayed, and tidbit after every single interesting-but-ultimately-meaningless tidbit is flashed in our faces.

Nothing against a good tidbit, or a little well-deserved attention coming the Jays’ way, but I tend to find it all a touch paralyzing. The frivolities are so many in number that they become a tedious blur I find myself straining to see past in order to fix my eyes on the field.

What does anyone need to know about this game? That it’s a beautiful day in Toronto, the roof will be open, and under the big, blue sky the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles will play a game of baseball. One team will win and move on to face the Texas Rangers, the other’s season will be over.

It could be a game thick with tension, or it could be anticlimactic. John Gibbons’ decision to start Marcus Stroman over Francisco Liriano may end up looking astute, or may blow up in his face. It may be a completely sensible one — as Eno Sarris of FanGraphs argued in a piece today — or it may be as bad as the seething front-running Gibbons-hating coward-morons of the fan base are going to make it sound at the first possible hint of trouble.

Something is going to matter, and it’s going to matter a whole hell of a lot, but we have no idea what that is and to me there’s no use wasting energy trying to find it. There’s nothing to be upset over and nothing worth being distracted by. We can only just take a deep breath and watch our surrogates step into the great beyond.

One hundred twenty minutes solved nothing, so let’s stand at midfield, arms slung over each other’s shoulders, numbing ourselves to it all, and let this business happen already.

Scuttlebutt

Deadspin gives a bunch of reasons that neutrals should be pulling for the Blue Jays, which we obviously don’t need, but are fun to see regardless.

I know I was just shitting on tidbits, but if you’re looking for the most interesting stuff out there when it comes to the Jays, it’s probably all coming straight from @James_in_to’s Twitter feed. Check it out.

If you haven’t seen it already, you have to check out Gregor Chisholm’s October Confidential piece on the Jays at BlueJays.com, in which rival players — many of them almost certainly Brian McCann — talk up the Jays while also throwing heaps of shade. It’s truly delightful. The companion piece on the Orioles is good too!

Toronto Blue Jays

Devon Travis(R) 2B
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
Ezequiel Carrera(L) LF
Marcus Stroman RHP

Baltimore Orioles

Adam Jones(R) CF
Hyun Soo Kim(L) LF
Manny Machado(R) 3B
Mark Trumbo(R) DH
Matt Wieters(S) C
Chris Davis(L) 1B
Jonathan Schoop(R) 2B
Michael Bourn(L) RF
J.J. Hardy(R) SS
Chris Tillman RHP