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Game #162 Preview: Blue Jays @ Rays

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Here it is. The final regular season game of the year. What started nearly six months ago comes to a very happy conclusion today, with the Blue Jays poised to take their baseball-playing ways into the postseason. A lineup that once featured Jose Reyes and Dalton Pompey (who?) with Drew Hutchison as the opening day starter has morphed into the most powerful squad in the league. Today's final game has essentially been sacrificed by John Gibbons in order to get Mark Buehrle over his 200-inning plateau, while other games around the league feature massive consequences making it an interesting TV-watching conflict for Jays fans.

Here's currently the only confirmation anyone has of Buehrle's status:

Opposing the loveable 'Papa B' on the mound is fellow southpaw Matt Moore, who looks to put a positive cap on an otherwise forgettable season. After only getting his 2015 season going in July thanks to last year's Tommy John surgery, Moore has been poor in 11 starts with the Rays which resulted in a demotion to Triple-A in August. His September starts have been stronger, but he still hasn't quite gotten back to where he was pre-surgery.

The Rays starter from Florida still rolls with his fastball and curveball combination, with a changeup also thrown in against RHH. He's lost velocity since entering the league and undergoing the Tommy John, so Moore shouldn't be expected to throw 95 mph ever again. Despite being in the same division, the Blue Jays haven't faced Moore since April 2014 due to his injuries and demotions so this will be a refresher course on the 8th round pick who will likely be in a strong Rays rotation next season.

Buehrle on the other hand will just need to pitch two innings to reach his 200.0 IP before exiting in favour of likely Drew Hutchison. Both former important pieces of the Jays rotation, Mark and Drew look to be outside the bubble for a playoff roster spot, with Buehrle actually rumoured to be already content with retiring after today's game. If so, his 2015 campaign was another strong one that only started to fall off the rails late in the year as he became just too banged up to pitch deep into games. Hopefully the Blue Jays fans will get some sort of opportunity to applaud his efforts one last time at the Rogers Centre before he rides off into the sunset.

Hopeful Lineup

  1. Ben Revere LF
  2. Josh Donaldson 3B
  3. Jose Bautista RF
  4. Edwin Encarnacion DH
  5. Chris Colabello 1B
  6. Russell Martin C
  7. Troy Tulowitzki SS
  8. Ryan Goins 2B
  9. Kevin Pillar CF

Bullpen Usage

This game will feature heavy usage of the bullpen by the Blue Jays, but it isn't likely going to be anyone that's very important to the team's postseason hopes.

Find the Link

Although FTL will continue into the postseason, the regular season title is up for grabs today and is very prestigious in its own right. Mainly because that's all we usually get a chance to contest during a normal Jays year! Here's the top four leaderboard:
  1. erik.t: 10
  2. eastcoastjayfan: 9
  3. masterkembo: 4.25
  4. madrush: 4
Find the link between Matt Moore and the second-longest field goal in Super Bowl history.

Enjoy the game today and good luck trying to watch everything that is on TV throughout the afternoon. I enjoyed going through the regular season with all of you and I'll see you in the playoffs!!!!