The MLB playoffs are finally here. After a season that saw the potential for several ties when all was said and done, the season finished up quite nicely with no loose ends to tie up after the conclusion of 162 games. As a result, this year’s American League Wild Card game will pit two AL East opponents against one another. The Baltimore Orioles will head north to take on the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night after both teams finished with an identical 89-73 record.
The two teams are fairly familiar with one another, as they squared off against one another 19 times this season. In those 19 games, the Blue Jays came out on top slightly, winning 10 of those games. The game will take place at the Rogers Centre, where the Blue Jays won six of the 10 games they played against the Orioles in the stadium this season. So while the Jays do have some home field advantage, this match-up is fairly even matched.
Both teams relied heavily on the long ball this season, to help offset pitching staffs that were merely average. The Orioles led the league in home runs with 253, which is nearly 30 more than any other club. The Jays were not too far behind, ranking fourth in MLB with 221. Baltimore was led by the man who hit more homers than anyone else in baseball, with Outfielder/DH Mark Trumbo launching 47 long balls. He was followed by the likes of Chris Davis, Manny Machado and Adam Jones, who all had 29 or more home runs. For Toronto, First baseman/DH Edwin Encarnacion went long 42 times to lead the club. His supporting cast includes Josh Donaldson, Michael Saunders, and Troy Tulowitzki, who added on 24 or more homers each.
The starters for the game will be as follows: Chris Tillman taking the ball for the away team, while Marcus Stroman goes for Toronto. Tillman, a 16 game winner, threw to a 3.77 ERA and 1.28 WHIP. Tillman has not exactly been the sharpest in the second half of the season, but he has at least gotten some work against his opponent during the year. He had four starts against Toronto, with his last one coming in Toronto on September 28th. All of his starts against the Jays were average, and he never surpassed six innings. Stroman, on the other hand, was a nine-game winner who had a 4.37 ERA on the year. Stroman has faced off against Baltimore three times this season, suffering the loss on September 29th in his latest start.
The winner of the AL Wild Card game will get the chance to take on the American League’s best team, the Texas Rangers. The loser goes home, and the winner of this AL East showdown head to Texas on Thursday for game one of the ALDS.
Here is where you can watch the game live Tuesday night.
Date: Tuesday, October 4
Start Time: 8:00 p.m. (EST)
TV Channel: TBS
Live Stream: Stream 1