The Toronto Blue Jays have a 2-0 lead on the Texas Rangers entering Sunday’s Game 3 of the American League Division Series at Rogers Centre.
Here’s a list of five things to watch as the Blue Jays go for the sweep:
‘Aaron’ it out
It’s hard to believe that Game 3 starter Aaron Sanchez was in a battle with Gavin Floyd at spring training just to make the Blue Jays’ starting rotation.
Sanchez has more than proved that’s where he belongs.
The 24-year-old right-hander will get Cy Young Award consideration this year after going 15-2 and leading the American League with a 3.00 earned-run average.
Sanchez isn’t intimidated by big games either.
He was a go-to arm in the bullpen during last year’s playoff run and pitched seven innings for the win in last Sunday’s critical regular-season finale at Boston.
Six different Toronto players have gone deep so far in this series while the Rangers are still looking for their first home run.
In fact, nine of the Blue Jays’ 15 runs have scored thanks to the long ball.
Texas is looking to end a five-game losing skid in the playoffs. The Rangers won the first two games at Rogers Centre in last year’s ALDS before dropping the next three games of the series.
It will be interesting to see how Blue Jays manager John Gibbons manages his bullpen in Game 3 given his team’s injury situation.
Francisco Liriano suffered a mild concussion in Game 2, Joaquin Benoit is still out with a calf injury and closer Roberto Osuna — who left the wild-card game after feeling a “stretch” in his shoulder — was needed for five outs on Friday afternoon. The team added right-handed pitcher Danny Barnes to take Liriano’s place in the bullpen.
The Blue Jays have yet to throw a complete game this year but a nine-inning effort would certainly be welcomed on Sunday.
Under the dome
Chances are very good that the Rogers Centre roof will be closed for Sunday night’s game.
Clear skies are in the forecast but an expected temperature of just nine-degrees Celsius will likely prevent the retractable roof from being opened.
The roof was open for Toronto’s wild-card victory over Baltimore last Tuesday.
Spotlight on security
The Blue Jays plan to enact heightened security measures and alcohol policies in the wake of a beer-tossing incident earlier this week.
A can of beer was tossed from the stands in the seventh inning of the wild-card game, narrowly missing Baltimore Orioles outfielder Hyun Soo Kim as he made a catch near the wall in left-centre field.
A 41-year-old Hamilton man is facing a charge of criminal mischief.
Gregory Strong, Canadian Press via CBC Sports | Photo: spinews.ir
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