Just 11 games left

Friday, September 18 2020 @ 02:13 PM EDT

Contributed by: John Northey

4 vs the Phillies this weekend, including 2 today. Time to buckle down for the stretch drive!

Game #1: Robbie Ray vs Zach Effin with Kirk catching, Villar at 2B, Biggio DH, otherwise pretty much normal (Shaw at 3B).
Game #2: Stripling vs ??? odds are Jansen starts this one. The rest is up in the air, but I'd bet on Hernandez being a DH for this one to give him a bit of a break.

Phillies are 1 game under 500 at the moment, fighting for their playoff lives. Like the Jays they are in the 8th slot, but St Louis is just 1/2 a game back, Milwaukee 1 game behind, Mets 1 1/2, Colorado 2 games back. Now that is a race! Miami is 1 1/2 ahead of the Phillies for 2nd in the NL East. San Francisco 1 game ahead for the top wild card slot. Crazy stuff. Every game matters a LOT for them. 63.4% odd of reaching the playoffs right now for the Phillies (via FanGraphs) vs the Jays at 97%.

So which pitchers are the keys to the Jays? Ryu is obvious, Walker is probably #2 in the rotation, then a lot of question marks. Ray could earn a slot with a good start tonight. The pen has been very good, but mostly smoke and mirrors - their xwFIP isn't suggesting they are anywhere as near as good as they have been. Lets hope the pixie dust keeps going for them after the NYY massacre.

As to hitting, 3 of the last 4 games they scored 6+ runs (sadly lost 3 of those 4). For September the Jays are hitting, as a team, 262/339/427. Over 1000 OPS for Davis (12 PA), Gurriel, Tellez (sigh). 900's for Fisher and Panik, 800's for Hernandez & Shaw, 700's for Jansen, Joseph, Espinal, 600's for Biggio, Vlad, 599 and down for Kirk, Villar, Bichette, Grichuk (203/242/237 in September), and McGuire. We need Grichuk to come to life, I expect Bichette to hit as he is hitting it hard but getting bad luck it seems.

Team ERA in September is 6.67 - ugh. 10+ ERA's for Anderson, Waguespack, Kay, Perez, and Yamaguchi. The good news is it has to get better after those horrid last 3 days. Please, let it get better this weekend.