What a Game One win. That was incredible! Jumping out of the gate like that to score three in the first against Manoah. The fact that the Mariners were able to give such a solid lead to a guy like Luis Castillo spoke wonders, and he was able to utterly control the Blue Jays lineup for the majority of the game before leaving in the eighth.
Game Two is starting at the same time as the first game in the series, and will kick off at 1:07 PM this afternoon. With the Wild Card series being just three games, it’s already setup for a potential series-winning game today for the Mariners. Let’s jump in and see what it’s going to take for them to get the Game Two win, and series win, this afternoon.
Mariners @ Blue Jays: Pitching Preview
Saturday, October 8th @ 1:07 PM – Robbie Ray vs Kevin Gausman
This is an incredible matchup to me. Not just because both of these guys are incredible pitchers (they are) but because you are looking at Robbie Ray, who just left the Jays after winning the Cy Young, and Kevin Gausman who was his replacement.
These situations always interest me. Are we going to see them turn it up a notch, trying to prove that the “other team” was wrong in letting them go/replacing them? Or will they start overthrowing, leaving too many mistakes over the plate and end up getting hit extra hard because of it?
There is an honest worry about Robbie Ray this afternoon. He’s had dominant stretches this year… but he can also struggle a bit against RH, which the Blue Jays lineup is loaded with. They might have an entire lineup full of RH today to face Ray. Here are his splits vs LH and RH.
- vs RH – .236/.308/.431 – 28 HR in 568 AB
- vs LH – .212/.260/.387 – 4 HR in 137 AB
If Ray can keep the ball in the park tonight, the Mariners are going to have a great shot.
On the other side, Gausman is sort of the opposite of Manoah. Where Manoah had an ERA about a full point higher than his FIP, Gausman is the other way around. He actually led the league this year with a 2.38 FIP. He’s going to be a tough matchup for sure.
Mariners @ Blue Jays: Hitters to Watch
Yesterday, the big boys came through for the Mariners. Julio got on base a few times, Geno knocked him in, Big Dumper hit a bombo, and Geno came through again late by getting a run in to make it 4-0.
Today, I think we are going to need to look to Haniger, our “vet”. He went 1-4 yesterday, but I think we are going to need something more from him in Game Two. He’s in the five hole again today, so if anyone is going to have opportunities to drive in runs, it’s likely to be him.
Jarred Kelenic is the other one I want to watch. He doesn’t need to go 3-4 or anything crazy. What he does need to do is be patient at the plate, work counts, move runners along and continue the inning. He’s been much better these last two September’s than the rest of the MLB season, and this would be a great opportunity for him to prove that he truly does belong on baseball’s biggest stage.
On the other side, it’s all those RH. Castillo held them in check in Game One, but it’s going to be a lot tougher for Robbie Ray. Springer did damage at the top of the lineup and will look to do so again after seeing his x-rays come back negative after being plunked yesterday. Chapman is the one that scares me today though. He can easily get into a groove and seemed to be starting that after a multi-hit game to open the series, capped off by a double down the line at 104 mph off the bat.
Mariners @ Blue Jays: Final Thoughts
The biggest storyline to me today, and I think you could probably guess from the them of the article, is Ray vs the RH. If he can keep the Jays in the ballpark, I think this series is going to be over after today. However, I’m worried that he is going to make a key mistake at an inopportune moment. Say, the 3rd inning with two runners on, serving one up to Baby Vlad.
The Mariners have been hitting better as of late, and having a fairly healthy lineup makes them formidable, albeit far from scary. They’ve definitely got a lot of guys who can hit the long ball and change the game in an instant, but they will have to take advantage of any mistakes that Gausman makes, of which I’m guessing there won’t be many.
It’s do-or-die already for the Blue Jays, since it is only a best-of-three series. Can they keep the series going, or will the Mariners win it in two games? This afternoon could either spell the end of the season for Jays, or push it to game three on Sunday. Go Mariners!