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Orioles @ Blue Jays: AL wild card game preview

PHOTO CREDIT: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Orioles @ Blue Jays: AL wild card game preview

It all comes down to one game.

Win or go home.

Do or die.

Game 163.

On Tuesday night, a pair of American League East teams will do battle in a one-game, winner take all wild card game. The Toronto Blue Jays will host the divisional-rival Baltimore Orioles in the Rogers Centre. The game is scheduled for 8:08 p.m. ET on TBS.

After doing battle throughout the regular season, these two teams will duke it out one more time to determine who advances to face the Texas Rangers in the ALDS.

This game should be filled with plenty of fireworks.

Baltimore led the MLB with 253 home runs, due in large part to Mark Trumbo’s MLB-leading 47 long balls. The Orioles had three players hit 30 or more home runs, including Trumbo, Chris Davis (38) and Manny Machado (37). Adam Jones was on the verge with 29. This was also the fourth-consecutive season in which an Oriole led the MLB in home runs.

Toronto is no stranger to putting the ball over the fence as the team ranked third in the MLB with 221. Edwin Encarnarcion led the Jays with 42 home runs. Reigning AL MVP, Josh Donaldson wasn’t too far behind his teammate, as he slugged 37 dingers. Michael Saunders and Troy Tulowitzki each had 24, while Jose Bautista, who knows a thing or two about postseason home runs, had 22. Of those 22 home runs, 16 have put his team ahead. His last six home runs of the regular season either gave his team the lead or tied the game.

Chris Tillman will toe the rubber for Baltimore as Toronto will send 25-year old Marcus Stroman. Tillman has been excellent this season for the O’s, with a record of 16-6 and a 3.77 ERA. In his last five starts, he’s had a 6.00 ERA. His numbers in the Rogers Centre aren’t that great, as he has a 7.01 career ERA in 13 starts. Stroman was Toronto’s best pitcher a season ago, but hasn’t lived up to that this season. He finished 9-10 with a 4.37 ERA. He is 1-0 with a 4.19 ERA in three postseason appearances.

The Blue Jays led the MLB in team ERA at 3.78. The starting staff was the only one in baseball to have a sub-four ERA. In 24 of the last 29 games, Jays starters have held the opposition to three or fewer runs.

The bullpen is where it gets shaky for the Jays, as the ‘pen has lost 32 games this season. That is the first time in MLB history a team reached the playoffs after losing 30 or more games from the bullpen.

If the Orioles are leading in the ninth, the game might be decided. O’s closer Zach Britton converted all 47 of his saves, leading the MLB. Dating back to October 1 of 2015, Britton has converted 49-consecutive saves, which is also the best in baseball.

The Orioles issued the most walks in the MLB this season with 545 free passes. That doesn’t bode well for the O’s as the Blue Jays led the MLB in walks with 632.

Each team gave up 183 home runs this year, which is only fitting as the two teams were in the top three in the MLB in home runs hit.

Toronto won the regular season series 10-9. Of the 19 games played, eight games were decided by a single run, with each team winning four. The two clubs slugged a combined 57 home runs in the 19 games. Toronto had 29 and Baltimore had 28.

There isn’t a lot of wild card experience between the two team as Toronto will play in its first ever, while the Oriole are 1-0 after defeating the New York Yankees in the inaugural AL wild card game in 2012.

Neither team was able to sop the Boston Red Sox from winning the division, which is why the addition of the second wild card game and winning the division are so vital to the game today.

One of these dynamic AL East teams will advance to the ALDS, while the other will pack up shop and watch the rest of the playoffs from the couch.

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I am a 2013 graduate of Clarion University with a bachelor's degree in communications and a concentration in journalism. I aspire to be great. I love sports and professional wrestling. Follow me on Twitter @KIngEdward15 and engage in sports talk with me.

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