PLAYOFFS!!!1! Threat: I would be thankful for a sweep, Blue Jays (2-0) vs Rangers (0-2)

Happy Thanksgiving, fellow Canadians! 

You want to know what I’m thankful for this fine Sunday? The fact that our young ace Aaron Sanchez is on the mound at Rogers Centre with a chance to send the Blue Jays to the American League Championship series with a win. Let’s do it! 

News and Scuttlebutt 

First and foremost, the Blue Jays have officially responded to the nonsense that transpired during the Wild Card Game Tuesday. For the remainder of the playoffs, as the release says, cans of beer will not be available at the Rogers Centre, and instead, all beer will be poured into cups. 

Fair enough. Obviously chucking a plastic cup on to the field is a hell of a lot more difficult and less dangerous than a can full of liquid, which is basically a projectile, so this makes sense. If I recall correctly, the Jays did this last year during the ALCS against the Royals, but only in the 500 level. 

Personally I hate drinking beer, or anything for that matter, out of cans, so this doesn’t seem like a terrible thing. The only real downside I can think of is that it’ll make lines move much, much slower, but maybe that isn’t a terrible thing, seeing as how it seems some fans could have their alcohol consumption spaced out a little bit. 

So that sums pretty much everything up on the injury front. As Arden said, Devon Travis still isn’t good to start, but could be seen later in the game if things go poorly, so Darwin Barney will get the start. The fact that Devo is good enough to at least come in to play in an emergency situation is good, because it signals some optimism that he’s moving in the right direction, and that the Jays won’t end up in a hideous situation of having, like Russell Martin playing in the infield in a playoff game. 

The news on Francisco Liriano isn’t quite so good, though, as the lefty went home today due to not feeling too well. As we know, the Jays have removed him from the roster and added Danny Barnes, but because of a new rule, they can re-add Liriano if they advance to the championship series, but not until Saturday, which would be Game 2. 

Today

Blue Jays: Zeke Carrera LF, Josh Donaldson 3B, Edwin Encarnacion 1B, Jose Bautista RF, Russell Martin C, Troy Tulowitzki SS, Michael Saunders DH, Kevin Pillar CF, Darwin Barney 2B

Aaron Sanchez: 15-2, 3.00 ERA, 3.55 FIP, 1.167 WHIP, 7.5 H9, 3.0 BB9, 7.5 SO9

Rangers: Carlos Gomez LF, Ian Desmond CF, Carlos Beltran DH, Adrian Beltre 3B, Rougned Odor 2B, Jonathan Lucroy C, Mitch Moreland 1B, Elvin Andrus SS, Nomar Mazara RF

Colby Lewis: 6-5, 3.71 ERA, 4.81 FIP, 1.126 WHIP, 8.0 H9, 2.2 BB9, 5.6 SO9

There he is! One win away from the Jays returning to the ALCS, Aaron Sanchez will take the mound for his first-career playoff start. Though, based on the importance and pressure of his start last week in Boston and his work out of the bullpen last October, this situation isn’t foreign to the young ace. 

Sanchez was phenomenal this season, obviously, and in his last three starts, he’s been as good as ever. In three critical games against Seattle, Baltimore and Boston, Sanchez tossed a total of 19 innings, surrendering only three earned runs. He faced Texas twice this season, one went well, the other didn’t, but the better of the two came at home, in which he allowed three runs over seven innings in a win back in May. 

Going for the Rangers will be Colby Lewis, who was left out of the Rangers’ playoff starting rotation last season (in favour of Derek Holland and Martin Perez) despite having playoff success in the past. Lewis was instrumental in Texas making it to the World Series in back-to-back seasons in 2010 and 2011, but hasn’t made a playoff start in five years. He was having himself a solid season this year before going on the DL in June. Since coming off, Lewis has tossed four games against Oakland twice, Tampa Bay, and Anaheim, allowing 13 runs over 18 1/3 innings. 

* * *

Though it seems like this thing is over after the way things went down in Texas, it’s far from it. The Rangers are a good team with a loaded lineup and things change quickly in baseball. We saw this exact same scenario last year when the Jays stormed back and won three in a row after going down two at home, so we absolutely shouldn’t be getting ahead of ourselves. 

Yes, this is absolutely a favourable matchup for the Jays, as Lewis’ numbers have been very unspectacular this season and Sanchez has been arguably the best starting pitcher in the American League, but it’s never over until it’s over. 

Let’s fucking do it.