The Toronto Blue Jays have been one of the best home teams in all of baseball this season. Their hot streak during the second half of the season propelled them to an AL East title and a showdown against the Texas Rangers.
The Texas Rangers were one of the league’s best road teams and they lived up to their reputation in this series. Let’s recap how this epic ALDS went down.
Many expected the Blue Jays to dominate in this series but it was the Rangers who jumped all over Toronto from the beginning of the series. The biggest story of Game 1 was the role players coming through for the Rangers.
Rougned Odor and Robinson Chirinos both hit home runs late in the game to secure a Rangers victory. David Price was expected to be lights out for the Blue Jays but he ended up allowing five runs over seven innings. His counterpart Yovani Gallardo was decent enough through five innings and he only allowed two runs.
Odor hit his home run in the 7th inning to give the Rangers a 5-3 lead which they never gave up.
The Blue Jays had to respond to avoid a 2-0 deficit going back to Arlington but that didn’t happen.
This next game in Toronto was an absolute marathon that went 14 innings. Cole Hamels was on the mound for the Rangers and he squared off against upstart Marcus Stroman.
Both pitchers basically cancelled each other out over seven innings. Hamels allowed two runs and Stroman surrendered three runs.
Josh Donaldson smashed his first career postseason RBI with a dinger in the first inning.
Mike Napoli’s RBI single in the 8th inning tied the game at 4-4 and then the two teams would be deadlocked for six more innings.
Third Baseman Hector Alberto, who filled in for the injured Adrian Beltre, came through with an RBI single in the top of the 14th and the Rangers closed things out and won 6-4 to take a commanding 2-0 series lead.
At this point it seemed that the series was over with Texas only needing to one out of the next two games at home. However, the Blue Jays refused to lose and fought back in Game 3.
The star of this game was Troy Tulowitzki who came through in the clutch for the Toronto Blue Jays. Martin Perez dueled with Marco Estrada on the mound and Estrada came out on top. Perez allowed four runs over five innings and Estrada only gave up one run over 6 1/3 innings of work.
The game was only 2-0 heading into the 6th inning but Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion immediately got on base. That’s when Tulowitzki’s home run broke the game open to give the Blue Jays a 5-0 lead.
The Blue Jays would go on to win 5-1 and they finally had some momentum going into Game 4.
The Blue Jays carried things over in Game 4 by jumping on Rangers starter Derek Holland early on. Holland only lasted two innings and gave up six runs in the process.
Josh Donaldson got things started in the 1st inning again with a two run home run of Holland.
Then Chris Colabello hit a 363 foot home run to increase the Blue Jays lead to 3-0 and Kevin Pillar did the same with a 416 foot bomb to make it 4-0.
By the time the 7th inning stretch rolled around the Blue Jays had a 8-1 lead. The Rangers got back a couple of runs to make it 8-4 but the Blue Jays sealed the deal and now it was Texas who would be sweating it out in Game 5.
This game was easily the best one of the entire series and it could not have ended any better for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Just like this series, the Rangers jumped out to an early lead after the first couple of innings. Marcus Stroman got the ball in a big time situation but he was shaky early on.
Shin-Soo Choo went yard to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead in the 3rd inning.
Cole Hamels and Stroman canceled each other out once again, Hamels went 6 1/3 innings and Stroman went six innings.
Each pitcher only allowed two runs and Hamels second run allowed was thanks to Edwin Encarnacion. Encarnacion hit a 457 foot monster home run to tie the game in the 6th inning.
The Rangers took a lead in in the 7th inning despite three costly errors from earlier in the game. Rougned Odor was able to score on an error from Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin to make the game 3-2.
Everything changed in the bottom half in the inning and Jose Bautista who has been this team’s franchise player, hit a huge go-ahead home run with an even better bat flip.
Joey Bats’ home run went 442 feet and gave the Blue Jays a somewhat comfortable 6-3 lead at the end of the 7th. The Blue Jays bullpen stepped up and sealed the deal. The franchise is making their 6th ALCS appearance in team history.
After a crazy series, the Toronto Blue Jays are headed to the ALCS and they await the winner of the Houston Astros vs. Kansas City Royals series that has also gone to five games.
If the Astros were able to advance, the ALCS would feature two incredibly high powered offenses which would be a lot better for ratings. The over/under for total runs and home runs in that series will be off the charts.
If it’s the Royals then the ALCS will be much more low key. The Blue Jays hadn’t made the playoffs since their last World Series win in 1993. Could they be on the road to another World Series title after 22 years? We’ll know soon enough.