In the interest of full disclosure, I hate the Wild Card game. Winning the division is a much better course of action than having a one game playoff to decide it.
For instance, the 2015 Pittsburgh Pirates won 98 games, lost the WC game to the Cubs and then watched the Mets, who had won eight fewer games than the Pirates in the regular season, go to the World Series. That just feels wrong.
However, September 2016 was a month from hell for the Blue Jays. They lost the division lead to the Red Sox and had to fight to the last day of the season. This one game playoff is how it has to be. And I'm also not going to begrudge anyone else the enjoyment of it.
Especially if it means moments like this:
Ben Nicholson-Smith had a great recap of the celebration. Including fantastic anecdotes about a completely thrilled Troy Tulowitzki.
Aaron Sanchez pitched like a boss yesterday, taking a no-hitter to the seventh inning and generally keeping the potent Red Sox offence quiet and subdued. I said at the start of the season that if Sanchez pitched to his potential, the Price shaped hole in the rotation would be non-existent and that was illustrated perfectly in the head to head showdown. Price was great yesterday, but Sanchez was better.
Per a beer soaked Russell Martin to John Lott:
Troy Tulowitzki and Devon Travis were the offensive heroes in a very low scoring game. Devon Travis broke the 0-0 tie with a decisive bomb over the Green Monster off of Price.
Here he is in the WC glow:
Tulowitzki hit the go-ahead single to right-centre in the 8th and was thrilled in the post-game.
And while it is slightly silly to have booze up for a one game playoff, I’m not going to take this from them. It was a terrible month and a hard fought battle to get here. Celebrate it. There should be more celebrating in general. Eat more cake.
My pick to start the WC game is Francisco Liriano.
He faced the Orioles September 28th (it was the Kim homer/Osuna blown save game). Cisco gave up 0 ER in 6.1 IP, 6 hits (no XBH), 1 BB and 10 K. He's pitched like a boss lately.
He also has a WC game win, caught by Russell Martin (and saved by Jason Grilli) for the Pirates. That probably doesn’t mean much, if anything, but it’s not a bad thing.
ETA- Gibbons went with Stroman. That's fine.
I also recommend getting runs, lots of them, before the Orioles get to Britton- who is filthy. I’m guessing the Orioles will send Jimenez or Tillman to the mound, with the edge given to Jimenez. Pray for bad Ubaldo. Get. It. Going.
ETA: Showalter went with Tillman. No one listens to me.
The baseball gods want another showdown with Texas, y’all.
The Sportsnet broadcast ended just after this:
I think Estrada’s face is my favourite. Like “Oh, Dermody…..you’re that guy.” Grilli is all "Been there, my friend."
This was dropped into a Steve Simmons article that made the rounds on Sunday. I’m not linking to it but I highlighted the most interesting part. By interesting I mean insane:
Wait- what? First of all, “remaining Blue Jays” sounds like some will be rounded up and killed after their playoff run. Also, since when was this a thing? You are just going to drop this little bombshell and offer no followup or details? And if this is a real thing, isn’t it that if you have a problem with the MVP, you are the one who has to get over it? Did you not like your Tom Ford special blend perfume? He made you all smell like sexy flowers. This is so trolltastic.
Edwin still likes him: