- The starting pitching matchup is Chris Tillman vs. Marcus Stroman. Some O's fans are wondering why Ubaldo Jimenez, the better pitcher as of late, isn't getting the nod. Meanwhile, some Blue Jays fans are curious why Francisco Liriano isn't starting against an O's lineup that has struggled mightily against lefties. If you're into the whole recency thing, both Liriano and Tillman pitched against each other just last week (Liriano was better, but the Orioles still won).
- Chris Tillman is ready.
- Having the right-handed Stroman on the mound should open the door for Hyun Soo Kim to start in left field. I'll predict that Kim will be somewhere in the lineup, along with Michael Bourn in right field and Mark Trumbo at DH. I don't think the Orioles want Trumbo in the outfield in a must-win game, and I also don't think Buck Showalter would be too upset about having Pedro Alvarez as a late-game pinch-hitting option. Don't be surprised if Showalter opts to use Bourn as the leadoff hitter, though Kim makes more sense at the top of the lineup.
- This will be Trumbo's first playoff game. Trumbo made his major league debut in 2010, so tonight's game must be particularly exciting for him.
- Tonight's game could also be the last time you see Matt Wieters and Mark Trumbo in an Orioles uniform. They're both free agents, and both will assuredly receive multi-year deals on the open market. Still, the Orioles could (and maybe should) extend the qualifying offer to both players, which at the very least would net the O's a couple of draft picks if they decline. If they don't, well, then you run things back in 2017 before a max exodus of players.
- These two teams are evenly matched. They ended the season with identical 89-73 records. You might give Stroman a bit of a nod over Tillman, but they're at least comparable. And while the Blue Jays have a better lineup, the O's have the better bullpen. Anything can happen in one game, of course, even if these teams weren't close. You'd probably give Toronto a slight edge, but then again, they might end up seriously regretting not knocking the Orioles out of the playoff chase when they had the chance last week.
04 October 2016
What To Know For Tonight's Orioles-Blue Jays Wild Card Game
Posted by Matt Kremnitzer
The Orioles and Blue Jays square off in the American League Wild Card Game tonight at Rogers Centre (8 p.m.). Here's what you need to know about the matchup: