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The Blue Jays have had a real good 2016. They managed to unearth some gems for their rotation both this year and last year, helping to make the most of what could be the final season for both Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista in Toronto. They’re in the ALCS thanks to a win in the AL Wild Card Game, as well as against their recent rivals, the Rangers. It’s the second year in a row they’ve made the playoffs, which hadn’t happened since the last time they made the postseason prior to this, back in 1992 and 1993. It’s been good, but it’s also nearly over, as the Indians won Game 3 of the ALCS on Monday, putting the Jays in an 0-3 hole.
I am legally obligated to mention that only one MLB team has ever come back from being down three games to none: the 2004 Red Sox made history by rebounding against the Yankees, and then going on to win the World Series. This means we’re very much in the territory where you could respond to this story with a "so you’re saying there’s a chance" GIF or screenshot or what have you, but that should underscore just how tough a position the Jays are in: 34 teams have headed into Game 4 of a best-of-seven down 0-3, and just that one team came back to win the series.
If the Jays are going to mount the second comeback ever in this situation, they’ll have to get it going against Corey Kluber. Terry Francona announced during Game 3 that Kluber would pitch Game 4, likely because there’s a better bet — even on short rest — that he’ll make the bullpen’s life easier than rookie Ryan Merritt would. It’s a pretty dire situation: Kluber led the AL in ERA+ at 149, won a Cy Young two years ago, and posted a 2.61 ERA from June onward, a stretch covering 21 starts and 141 innings. Not only that, but Andrew Miller only threw 21 pitches on Monday after a day of rest on Sunday. The Jays aren’t officially done, but they’re certainly up against it.
- The Indians ended up using Game 3 as a bullpen game because Trevor Bauer only lasted for two outs. He was removed for foreign substance concerns, the foreign substance being the blood that wouldn’t stop exiting his body.
- Terry Francona loves flipping off a camera that lingers too long, and he did it again on Monday.
- Jose Bautista implied the Blue Jays were dealing with umpires favoring the Indians, which he referred to as "circumstances." The result? He got owned online by a brand.
- Game 4 of the ALCS begins at 4 p.m. ET on TBS. Maybe no one will bleed profusely from their hand during this one.
- After Game 4 of the ALCS, we’ll get Game 3 of the NLCS, with Rich Hill taking on Jake Arrieta in Los Angeles.
- Hill is a remarkable baseball weirdo, and we should get used to him.
- Indians’ World Series tickets are already on sale and oh boy are they expensive.
- Patrick Dubuque tried to figure out what makes a postseason hero.
- The NPB postseason is also going on, and Shohei Otani is dominating them.
- It’ll be harder for the Giants to revamp the bullpen than you might think.