I've been a Jays fan since the summer of '83, but I've never seen anything like what I'll see tonight. For the first time in franchise history, the Jays are playing a wild card game to see who advances to the ALDS.
The Jays have won six AL East pennants, only one of which was secured during the wild card era. Tonight is very, very different. It's a one game winner-take-all showdown against the Baltimore Orioles. My stomach is already doing somersaults.
Marcus Stroman gets the start over left-hander Francisco Liriano. Make no mistake, this is a loyalty move by Gibbons. Stroman was our opening day starter, and he'll get the ball tonight, but if you look at everything objectively, you'd likely give the nod to Liriano. I suspect we'll see both tonight.
And that's what makes this one game playoff so different. How Gibbons uses his relievers will mean the world. It's safe to say Stroman will have a very short leash, but if he's pitching well, do you pull him after four? If the first two batters in the second inning reach base, do you go to Liriano then? Is there any chance Stroman faces an Oriole three times tonight?
We're one win away from an ALDS rematch with the Rangers. I'll be watching.... through my fingers as they cover my eyes.