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After 92 seasons, the Blue Jays want to take the next step starting with the wild card series


TORONTO – Blue jay slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr., made the pre-season announcement that last year’s team provided the trailer and this year’s team will provide the film.

Get your popcorn, baseball fan. We’re about to see if this film ends quickly with a whimper or ends up generating a standing ovation.

“The expectation for us is to keep winning,” Toronto manager John Schneider said Thursday. “This is the goal we set in spring training. Myself, the staff and every player in the club have faith in the world that we will be the last team standing. “

The Blue Jays have made strides in a 92-match regular season, making them fourth seed in the US Championship and home advantage in the first of three games against Seattle.

Securing a top wildcard spot last Monday allowed Toronto to rest a few players this week and line up ace Alek Manoah (16-7, 2.24 ERA) to start Game 1 on Friday afternoon at the Rogers Center.

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“Let your emotions run wild and let your adrenalin run,” Manoah said of approaching the first playoff game of his career. “Dig it like you’ve been digging it all year. Just go out there and have fun with the boys.”

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The Mariners, who have won 90 games, will go with Luis Castillo (8-6, 2.99) as their Game 1 starter. He was acquired in a fixed-term deal with Cincinnati and subsequently signed a long-term extension with Seattle.

Mariners manager Scott Servais said: “Luis has the ability to shut down any lineup on any given night with his stuff. “And it’s not just his stuff. A lot of guys can throw hard and have great movement.

“That’s the competitiveness behind that. He wants to be a guy. He raves about that and he loves it.”

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Rookie star Julio Rodriguez is an offensive anchor for the Mariners, who are returning from the season for the first time since 2001.

The Blue Jays have more offensive weapons but Seattle may have the edge thanks to a deep basement. The Mariners have won five of their seven games against Toronto in the regular season series.

Toronto is back in the knockout stages for the first time since being swept away by Tampa Bay in a wild card series in 2020. A ticketing crowd will have a full say for the Blue Jays’ first home playoff since. from the 2016 AL Championship Series.

General manager Ross Atkins said: “Our excitement can be felt in the clubhouse.

Saturday’s Game 2 will also begin at 4:07 p.m. ET. If necessary, Sunday’s Game 3 will begin at 2:07 p.m. ET.

The winner of this series will advance to AL Division Series Best starting Tuesday against the Houston Astros, the top seed.

Robbie Ray, who won last year’s AL Cy Young Award with Toronto, is selected to start for Seattle in Game 2 and Logan Gilbert will start Game 3.

The Blue Jays have yet to name their other starters.

Kevin Gausman left his last official match after just three innings due to a cut in the middle finger of his pitching hand. He was scheduled to hold a bullpen on Friday afternoon.

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“He’s doing really well,” Atkins said. “We don’t expect it to limit him. We are really encouraged by the recovery. “

Gausman, Ross Stripling and Jose Berrios were all on hand to start for Toronto. The final list of wild cards for both teams will likely be announced a few hours before Game 1.

The Blue Jays have decisions on the status of midfielder Lourdes Gurriel, Jr., (hamstring) and midfielder Santiago Espinal (oblique). Both players worked on Thursday and ran the bases.

Toronto has had an impressive 22-11 record as of September 1. The Mariners are 18-14 over the same period.

“I think right now we’re playing our best baseball,” Manoah said. “So it was the perfect timing.”

This Canadian Press report was first published on October 6, 2022.

Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.

© 2022 Canadian Press

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