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Photo Credit: © Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports

Mitch White to start for Blue Jays on Friday, Alek Manoah lined up for Game 162

Mitch White will get the start for the Blue Jays on Friday in Tampa, a move that the team’s coaching staff has made in order to give Alek Manoah some extra rest and to line him up for the final day of the season.

Manager John Schneider said that the team’s priority is finishing as the top wild-card team so that they can host the first round of the playoffs. If that comes down to the final day of the season, Manoah will start. If not, he’ll get more extra rest before the Blue Jays head into the playoffs.

Here’s how the pitching rotation will look the rest of the way, based on the Blue Jays’ plans…

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  • Friday, Sept. 23 vs. Rays: Mitch White
  • Saturday, Sept. 24 vs. Rays: Alek Manoah
  • Sunday, Sept. 25 vs. Rays: Ross Stripling
  • Monday, Sept. 26 vs. Yankees: Kevin Gausman
  • Tuesday, Sept. 27 vs. Yankees: Jose Berrios
  • Wednesday, Sept. 28 vs. Yankees: Mitch White/Bullpen Day
  • Thursday, Sept. 29 – OFF
  • Friday, Sept. 30 vs. Red Sox: Alek Manoah
  • Saturday, Oct. 1 vs. Red Sox: Ross Stripling
  • Sunday, Oct. 2 vs. Red Sox: Kevin Gausman
  • Monday, Oct. 3 vs. Orioles: Jose Berrios
  • Tuesday, Oct. 4 vs. Orioles: Mitch White/Bullpen Day
  • Wednesday, Oct. 5 vs. Orioles: Alek Manoah
  • Thursday, Oct. 6 – OFF
  • Friday, Oct. 7 – Wild Card Game 1
  • Saturday, Oct. 8 – Wild Card Game 2
  • Sunday, Oct. 9 – Wild Card Game 3

The ideal situation here, of course, is that the Blue Jays have the top wild-card spot locked up before the end of the season and those games against Baltimore in October don’t matter. As it stands right now, the Blue Jays are one game up on Tampa Bay and they play the Rays three more times while they’re a game-and-a-half up on Seattle with no more head-to-heads with the Mariners.

If Manoah goes in Game 162 for seeding purposes, Kevin Gausman would be the obvious name to start Game 1 of the playoffs for the Blue Jays. Ross Stripling and Jose Berrios would be the two arms lined up for Games 2 and 3, though Manoah could potentially go on short rest in a do-or-die situation.

Is getting home-field advantage worth possibly not having a fully-rested Manoah as an option in the wild-card series? The Blue Jays are 43-32 in Toronto and 41-34 away from home, so the split doesn’t seem too extreme, but going on the road wouldn’t be ideal for a few reasons.

Playing the Mariners would involve making a cross-country flight on the one day off between the regular season and the wild-card round. We also shouldn’t expect a Canadian Takeover as Mariners fans would surely fill their own stadium for their first playoff appearance since 2001. And then there’s The Trop, a place that’s been rightfully deemed The House of Horrors given how difficult the Rays are to play against there. Tampa is 50-28 at home and 33-39 on the road this season.

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Maybe this is all moot and the Blue Jays either wrap up the top wild-card spot or it’s out of reach by the end of the season. Who knows! But you can see why they wouldn’t want to be the second wild-card team, as playing in either Tampa or Seattle would feature some ugly challenges.


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