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Friday Bantering: Britton, Toronto-Cleveland and 4:32 Games

Division Series - Texas Rangers v Toronto Blue Jays - Game Three Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Finally, it’s game day! It feels like it has been forever since we swept away Texas on Sunday. I’m ready for some Blue Jays baseball. I’ve been watching all of the other playoff games, but for me the feeling of being so emotionally invested in a team just can’t be replicated in games not involving the my team. Go Jays Go!

Here is some news out there in Blue Jays-land.

Intentional Talk spoke with Joe Biagini who is at his usual best in the interview. I didn’t watch all of it (work getting in the way) but Biagini gives a great quote early on:

I have to say that ever since about 5 minutes ago when they told me I had to come on this show that I’ve really wanted to do this so it’s an honor, thank you...

The Jays moving on to the ALCS is the definite highlight of my week so far, but this comes in second. In what I perceive to be a sensational needling of Buck Showalter and Orioles fans, MLB is auctioning off a ‘game-used Zach Britton’ jersey from the wildcard game against Toronto. The current bid is at $375 USD if you are interested in owning a piece of history that is still so fresh in the frustrated fan-base of a division rival.

August Fagerstrom of Fangraphs writes about one weakness shared by the entire Blue Jays starting pitching staff that he feels Cleveland can exploit in the upcoming series. The article is complimentary of our starting pitching in terms of throwing pitches, but he feels that the Blue Jays’ playoff rotation is one that is susceptible to the stolen base:

Along those same lines, but on the flip side, there’s also a weakness shared by many of those same fastballing Blue Jays pitchers that perhaps no team other than the Indians is better suited to exploit. Whatever inherent disadvantage Indians hitters may have at the plate, they may make up for on the bases.

We’ll have to see if this is a theme that emerges in the ALCS.

Fangraphs has posted an article and poll asking readers which of the playoff teams is most likely to miss out on the postseason next year. The article gives a quick overview of each team and here is what it said about the Blue Jays:

The Blue Jays have so much star power. An incredible amount of star power, scattered throughout the lineup. And not enough people have caught on to the fact that Aaron Sanchez is also a star, now, and Marcus Stroman is getting there. Most of the important parts of the pitching staff are in position to come back. There’s just, you know, the matter of the impending free agents: Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Bautista, and, less importantly, Michael Saunders. (And I’ll count Brett Cecil, I guess.) The Blue Jays are going to have some difficult decisions to make very soon, and even though I know you could say that same thing about literally every organization in professional sports, that doesn’t make it wrong! It just makes it unfulfilling and pointless.

As of this writing, the Blue Jays were in the middle of the pack in terms of voting, with 10.32% of respondents feeling as though the team will not participate in the 2017 playoffs. It depends so much on what happens at some key positions for us (LF, RF, 1B, DH) that it is hard to say for me. However, a pitching staff of Aaron Sanchez (with no innings limits), Marco Estrada, J.A. Happ, Marcus Stroman and Francisco Liriano along with a core of Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki, Devon Travis, Russell Martin and Justin Smoak (kidding!) is a good start. I will say at a minimum the Blue Jays should be playing some meaningful baseball late in the season next year.

Did you watch the entire Dodgers-Nationals game? If so, kudos not only for enduring the slowest 9-inning playoff game in history but for suffering through 272 minutes of Harold Reynolds’ rambling. If you were watching the game and have any idea of what Reynolds was talking about in the bottom of the 8th inning please explain it in the comments. Michael Taylor was at bat with Stephen Drew on first. Reynolds was advocating for Drew to try stealing second (which is fine) but his reasoning was that Michael Taylor had a high probability of striking out anyway. Therefore, Harold argued that if Drew was thrown out at second, Taylor could strike out leading off the 9th inning instead. As is the case with much of Harold’s dialogue I was confused, and based on their reaction I think the other commentators were too. Anyway, I digress. Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs provided a recap for the game leading off with the very close play at the plate involving Jayson Werth (and we though Luis Rivera was bad). In case you are wondering, the catcher already is holding the baseball in this photo.

Remember that simple odds dictate that the Jays won’t be in the ALCS every year, so make sure to enjoy the game and the series everyone.