As the playoff’s semifinals drew even last night in the National League, Toronto is hoping to stop the bleeding at home in the AL. A team that was 4th in the MLB in home runs this year with 221 (just behind the third place Mariners, who hit 223) has been held to just one run in the last 18 innings. José Bautista felt there may have been shenanigans involved, perhaps taking standard umpire critique beyond the normally accepted griping on Sunday.
Cleveland’s Twitter fired back with some questions of their own.
We've had sign stealing and circumstances.— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) October 17, 2016
POLL: What will our opponents' next excuse be? #RallyTogether
In other words, while this matchup of the #18 media market in the U.S. and the country of Canada may feel like an afterthought to much of the US next to the L.A.-Chicago showdown, there will be plenty of intensity beyond the excellent baseball.
Cleveland at Toronto (CLE leads 2-0) 5:00 PM PT
Trevor Bauer appears to have healed after injuring himself working on his drone this week, which is, it appears, not a euphemism. The eccentric righty was so-so against Boston in his previous start, but replicating his career high GB rate (48.7%) that is borne out of a very good sinker will be crucial to Cleveland’s chances of success tonight. The strategy for the navy blue donning team has been clear this postseason: let the starters get through as many innings as they can, and at the first sign of trouble let Andrew Miller and the bullpen get to shredding. If Cleveland manages to make it to the World Series, it wouldn't be outlandish to say that a ‘middle/long reliever’ would be their MVP candidate. Marcus Stroman has been able to rest thoroughly, not needing to pitch since winning the Blue Jays’ wild card game way back on October 4th, when he only threw 81 pitches for that matter. The royal blue birds have chosen to optimize their lineup, putting their best hitters as the first four in the order in a bold step towards what should be considered logic but is sure to be contentious on the broadcast and among some analysts.
|CLEVELAND INDIANS||TORONTO BLUE JAYS|
|Carlos Santana - DH||Jose Bautista - RF|
|Jason Kipnis - 2B||Josh Donaldson - 3B|
|Francisco Lindor - SS||Edwin Encarnacion - 1B|
|Mike Napoli - 1B||Troy Tulowitzki - SS|
|Jose Ramirez - 3B||Russell Martin - C|
|Lonnie Chisenhall - RF||Michael Saunders - DH|
|Coco Crisp - LF||Kevin Pillar - CF|
|Tyler Naquin - CF||Ezequiel Carrera - LF|
|Roberto Perez - C||Ryan Goins - 2B|
|Trevor Bauer - RHP||Marcus Stroman - RHP|
FiveThirtyEight: 56% Blue Jays win.