We are back from a wonderful vacation. I saw things I never imagined I would get to see. And felt cut off from the Blue Jays. With the games happening in the middle of the night and having no internet much of the time, it was hard to keep up. But back for the playoffs, so all is good.
I owe a huge thank you to Tom M. and everyone who filled in for me for so long.
And we have a schedule for the Wild Card round:
- Game 1: Guardians vs. Rays, 12:07 p.m. ET (ESPN)
- Game 1: Cardinals vs. Phillies, 2:07 p.m. ET (ABC)
- Game 1: Blue Jays vs. Mariners, 4:07 p.m. ET (ESPN)
- Game 1: Mets vs. Padres, 8:07 p.m. ET (ESPN)
- Game 2: Guardians vs. Rays, 12:07 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
- Game 2: Blue Jays vs. Mariners, 4:07 p.m. ET (ESPN)
- Game 2: Mets vs. Padres, 7:37 p.m. ET (ESPN)
- Game 2: Cardinals vs. Phillies, 8:37 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Sunday (all games if necessary)
- Game 3: Blue Jays vs. Mariners, 2:07 p.m. ET (ABC)
- Game 3: Guardians vs. Rays, 4:07 p.m. ET (ESPN)
- Game 3: Mets vs. Padres, 7:37 p.m. ET (ESPN)
- Game 3: Cardinals vs. Phillies, 8:37 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Of course, those Sunday times will change if some of the series end in two games.
I hope the Jays will share their Wild Card roster sometime today, though it will likely be tomorrow when it comes out.
The big questions will be the last couple of guys in the pen and if Lourdes Gurriel and Santiago Espinal can return. Espinal would be handy, even if he is unlikely to start. I think Lourdes would only make the team if he could start. It sounds likely that Gabriel Moreno will make the cut, which would be nice.
With a three-game series, they could keep an extra bat or two and have one or two fewer arms in the pen. Yusei Kikuchi is the big question for me. Another lefty in the pen might be nice, and someone who could go a few innings if needed. But they should build the roster on guys they trust in close games.
They have told us, not a surprise, that Alek Manoah gets the Friday start. He had one start against the Mariners this year, getting the loss, going 7.1, allowing 3 hits, 2 earned, 1 home run, 4 walks and 7 strikeouts.
It looks like Luis Castillo will start for the M’s. He was 8-6 with a 2.99 ERA in 25 starts, 150.1 innings. He faced the Jays once this year, allowing 2 runs in 6 innings with 7 hits, no walks and 5 strikeouts. That’s the only time he’s faced the Jays in his career.
There were a bunch of roster moves yesterday, none of which will affect the playoff roster:
- Vinny Capra went on the 60-day IL after surgery on the tendon on his left middle finger.
- Nate Pearson was activated off the 60-day IL and optioned to Buffalo.
- Casey Lawrence was called up (and pitched yesterday).
- Trent Thornton was called up (and pitched yesterday, 2 very nice innings). Buck and Pat said he got a save, but he came in with the team up by 4 so no save.
- And Mitch White was optioned. That doesn’t change his playoff availability, but he wasn’t making the roster anyway.
Bo Bichette led the AL in hits for the second year in a row, with 189 (Vlad was 6th). His late-season surge brought his OPS over .800 (.803, the lowest of his career, but his 127 OPS+ beats out last year’s 121). Bo also led the team in offensive bWAR at 5.4.
Other Jays on the leaders’ board:
- Kirk was 10th in On Base % at .372.
- Hernandez 10th in Slugging at .491.
- Vlad 2nd (160) and Bo 3rd (159) in Games Played.
- Bo 6th (91) and Vlad 8th (90) in Runs Scored.
- Bo and Vlad were tied for 3rd in Total Bases at 306.
- Bo was 2nd in doubles at 43.
- Vlad was 7th in home runs.
- Vlad was 5th (97) and Bo 8th (93) in RBI.
- Chapman 10th in Walks at 68.
- Manoah was 4th in bWAR at 5.9.
- Manoah was 3rd in ERA at 2.24.
- Manoah was 3rd in Wins at 16.
- Cimber was tied for 1st in Games at 77.
- Romano was 3rd in Saves at 36.
- Manoah was 4th in Innings at 196.2.
In the Marvel will do anything for a dollar category, MILB is releasing their Marvel-designed team logos for 2023. You can’t make this stuff up. At 11:30 a.m. we can see Buffalo’s design. I’m reminded of a line I heard years ago, “Just because one can, doesn’t mean that one should”.