After a tough start to the series, the Blue Jays return home for Game 3 against Cleveland tonight in what is sure to be a raucous environment at the Rogers Centre. A win tonight will go a long way in the series as well as for the morale of a fanbase that is noticeably quiet and presumably nervous after Game 2. Sorry if the writing in this article is less than stellar, but squeezing it in over lunch here during a busy day at work. Here are 10 things I think on game day:
- I think it is crazy that if not for a hit-and-run (something we don’t do often), it is very conceivable that the Blue Jays would not have a single run in the first two games of the ALCS.
- I think that as bleak as it feels, the Blue Jays could just as easily be up 2-0 in the series. We’ve actually had more base runners as Cleveland through two games (10 hits, 4 walks for Toronto; 10 hits, 3 walks for Cleveland). Cleveland has been able to get the ball out of the park twice which really is the difference in the series thus far.
- I’ll repeat the last sentence for those that think Cleveland is up because they know how to play small ball: Cleveland has been able to get the ball out of the park twice which really is the difference in the series thus far.
- We are striking out a lot. I mean a lot. In the ALCS, Toronto players have struck out in 40% of their official at-bats. 13 of the 25 strike-outs have come against Cleveland’s bullpen. I think that will continue, but I hope to see some positive regression against the starters. Kluber is going to get his K’s but there should be no way we continue to strike out at that clip against the Bauer’s and Clevinger’s of the world.
- Our starting pitching is good enough to win the World Series. They’ve been incredible through the regular season and the playoffs. Glad that all of our playoff rotation (plus Francisco Liriano) will return in 2017.
- I think the offense will come. Despite the terrible offensive start to the ALCS, the Jays still rank 3rd among all teams that qualified for the postseason in OBP and BB. In fact, they rank 1st in those categories among AL teams. They lead all teams in OPS as well as extra base hits. Simply put, our offense is too good to hold down for long. Just hope it shows up before the small sample known as a best of 7 series ends.
- I think it is funny how things work out. With the Blue Jays battling for the AL East, I was thrilled to see Andrew Miller dealt out of our division on July 31. With several games remaining against the Yankees I thought the Blue Jays would benefit immensely from his departure. Now here we are in the ALCS and he is pitching pretty much as well as anyone I can remember. The Blue Jays have to minimize his impact on the game by getting some early runs.
- I’ve noticed that about 80% of the Blue Jays fans in my office have disappeared after the weekend. Win tonight and I’m sure there will be much more water cooler chatter about the team again.
- I predict a 5-2 Blue Jays win tonight. Share your predictions in the comments.
- I think Jose Bautista’s “circumstances” statements (link for those unfamiliar) are the equivalent of working the referees over in football. Jose is a cerebral guy and generally has shown himself to be pretty pointed and deliberate when speaking to the media. We’ll see if there is any effect on the umpiring tonight but it seems as though it is serving as some bulletin board material for the opposition as they are needling Bautista on social media:
We've had sign stealing and circumstances.— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) October 17, 2016
POLL: What will our opponents' next excuse be? #RallyTogether
Go Jays Go!