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After 92-win season, Blue Jays look to take next step starting with wild-card series

TORONTO – Blue Jays slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr., delivered a pre-season pronouncement that final 12 months’s squad offered the trailer and this 12 months’s group would ship the film.

Nicely seize your popcorn, baseball followers. We’re about to see whether or not this movie ends shortly with a whimper or will finally generate a standing ovation.

“The expectation for us is to proceed to win,” Toronto supervisor John Schneider stated Thursday. “It is a aim that we had set out at spring coaching. Myself, the workers and each participant within the clubhouse has all the boldness on the planet in us being the final group standing.”

The Blue Jays made strides over a 92-win common season that gave them the fourth seed within the American League and home-field benefit in a best-of-three first-round sequence in opposition to Seattle.

Securing the highest wild-card place final Monday allowed Toronto to relaxation some gamers this week and line up ace Alek Manoah (16-7, 2.24 ERA) to start out Sport 1 on Friday afternoon at Rogers Centre.

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“Let your feelings go loopy and let your adrenalin run,” Manoah stated of his method to his first profession playoff begin. “Tunnel it such as you’ve tunnelled all of it 12 months. Simply go on the market and have some enjoyable with the boys.”

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The Mariners, who received 90 video games, will go together with Luis Castillo (8-6, 2.99) as their Sport 1 starter. He was acquired in a trade-deadline take care of Cincinnati and later signed a long-term extension with Seattle.

“Luis has obtained the power to close down any lineup on any given evening together with his stuff,” stated Mariners supervisor Scott Servais. “And it’s not simply his stuff. Quite a lot of guys can throw laborious and have nice motion.

“It’s the competitiveness behind that. He desires to be the man. He revels in that and he enjoys that.”

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Rookie star Julio Rodriguez is an offensive anchor for the Mariners, who’re returning to the post-season for the primary time since 2001.

The Blue Jays have extra offensive weapons however Seattle seemingly has the pitching edge because of a deep bullpen. The Mariners received 5 of seven video games in opposition to Toronto within the season sequence.

Toronto is again within the playoffs for the primary time since being swept by Tampa Bay in a wild-card sequence in 2020. A sellout crowd will likely be in full voice for the Blue Jays’ first house playoff recreation for the reason that 2016 AL Championship Sequence.

“It’s palpable within the clubhouse how excited we’re,” stated basic supervisor Ross Atkins.

Saturday’s Sport 2 may even have a 4:07 p.m. ET begin. If obligatory, Sunday’s Sport 3 will start at 2:07 p.m. ET.

The sequence winner will advance to the best-of-five AL Division Sequence beginning Tuesday in opposition to the top-seeded Houston Astros.

Robbie Ray, who received the AL Cy Younger Award final 12 months with Toronto, is tabbed to start out for Seattle in Sport 2 and Logan Gilbert would get the Sport 3 begin.

The Blue Jays have but to call their different starters.

Kevin Gausman left his final regular-season begin after simply three innings because of a minimize on the center finger of his throwing hand. He was scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Friday afternoon.

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“He’s doing nice,” Atkins stated. “We don’t anticipate it to restrict him. We’re actually inspired by the restoration.”

Gausman, Ross Stripling and Jose Berrios are all within the combine to start out for Toronto. The ultimate wild-card rosters for each groups will seemingly be unveiled just a few hours earlier than Sport 1.

The Blue Jays have selections to make on the standing of outfielder Lourdes Gurriel, Jr.,(hamstring) and infielder Santiago Espinal (indirect). Each gamers labored out Thursday and ran the bases.

Toronto has posted a powerful 22-11 report since Sept. 1. The Mariners have been 18-14 over the identical interval.

“I believe proper now we’re enjoying our greatest baseball,” Manoah stated. “So it’s excellent timing.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed Oct. 6, 2022.

Comply with @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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