TORONTO -- The Toronto Blue Jays are down 0-2 in the American League Championship Series, but unlike the division series against Texas when they also were down 0-2, this time they are playing Game 3 at home. And Marcus Stroman couldn't be happier to take the mound with all the pressure in front of his fans.
"I'm like a little kid on Christmas Day," he said. "It's fun. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else except the Rogers Centre on the mound in a pressure game. I love it."
The Jays need a good, long start from Stroman. David Price was great for the first six innings of Game 2 before collapsing in a five-run seventh, and Toronto's bullpen is not nearly as tough as Kansas City's.
Toronto also has to get its offense going like it did during the regular season when it was the game's best. The Blue Jays were shut out in Game 1, and they not only haven't homered in this ALCS but they barely threatened the walls at Kauffman Stadium. Perhaps the friendlier confines at home will provide the needed boost. And maybe the off-day also will help Edwin Encarnacion’s left middle finger heal a bit.
Oh, and not making any fielding miscues could help, as well.
"We're built for our park, we're built for our division we play in and things like that," manager John Gibbons said. "Really, that's our trademark. If we're going to win, we need to score."
Who's up: Stroman is making his third start of the postseason and seventh since returning from ACL surgery in spring training. He has a 3.46 ERA in 13 innings in the postseason, allowing 11 hits while striking out nine and walking three. He faces Johnny Cueto, who seems to be back near his regular form.
Who's hot: First baseman Chris Colabello is hitting .375 this postseason and in this series. Not too many others after him.
Who's not: Quite a few of the Jays haven't been as productive at the plate as they were during the regular season. The bullpen also has issues. Reliever LaTroy Hawkins has allowed six runs in 2 1/3 innings this postseason, while Aaron Loup, the only lefty available in the pen, was ineffective Saturday.
What’s at stake: Pretty much the Jays' chances of reaching the World Series. Only one team in baseball history has overcome an 0-3 deficit to win a postseason series, so losing Game 3 would be much worse than losing the first two games of the division series. "You never want to go down 0-3," Gibbons said. "The odds, the history of the game prove that."