There’s a debate going on right now as to who should start Game 2 for the Toronto Blue Jays in the Wild Card Series vs. the Seattle Mariners. Whether it should be Kevin Gausman or Ross Stripling.
Sportsnet’s Jeff Blair on Wednesday’s postgame edition of Blue Jays Talk stated that who the Jays choose to pitch in Game 2 should depend on what happens in Game 1. If the Jays win, then Game 2 goes to Ross Stripling. If they lose, it’s Gausman. The rationale (if you can call it that) was that if the Jays sweep the Mariners with Alek Manoah and Stripling, it means Gausman can pitch 2 games in the ALDS vs. the Houston Astros, including the opener.
No. No. No. No. No. Just no.
There should absolutely be no debate here. In fact, I shouldn’t even have to write this story. The Game 2 starter should be Kevin Gausman, no matter what the outcome of Game 1. Why? Because KEVIN GAUSMAN IS THE BLUE JAYS’ SECOND BEST STARTER.
In case everyone has forgotten, this is a 3 game series. Under no circumstances do you mess around or get cute. Win the first game, then send your next best starter to the bump for Game 2. Try to end the series. Put your foot on the Mariners’ necks until you hear a snap. Do not give them life. It’s that simple.
Murphy’s Law will bite you in the butt every time
I don’t care if prime Nolan Ryan is taking the mound — you do not want any part of a winner-take-all Game 3. If you’ve actually watched baseball before, you would know that anything can happen at any time. And it often does.
And the playoffs are where best laid plans go to die.
What happens if Gausman takes a ball off the shin after the first pitch? It’s Game 3. There’s no more rope to play with. You now have to rely on the bullpen to go 9 innings in a win or go home game.
Sure, Gausman could just as easily get injured in a Game 2 start. But if that game goes to shit, you still have Game 3.
Don’t count your chickens before they hatch
This may be a cliché phrase. But it exists for a reason. You cannot play for a series that may never happen. Right now, there is no ALDS. It doesn’t exist. Not unless you win 2 out of 3 games.
It’s the same reason why if you’re a road team in an extra inning game with your season on the line, you don’t save your shutdown closer (cough, cough, Buck Showalter, cough, cough). You use him. Because that inning will not happen if you lose.
It’s not rocket surgery
The Blue Jays Wild Card rotation should be Manoah, Gausman, Stripling. No ifs, ands or idiotic buts. Because those are their 3 best starters, in order.
The only logic I’d even consider listening to for saving Gausman for Game 3 is if that cut on his finger hasn’t fully healed. And he needs one more day. If that’s the reason, then I’m open to it.
But first the Blue Jays have to win Game 1.
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