In an late afternoon opening to the official start of the divisional series round, the home favourite Toronto Blue Jays were upended by the pesky Texas Rangers. This was an entertaining affair and although the home team ended up in the losing docket, there are some positives John Gibbons and company can take from this as they now prepare for game two of this series which kicks off at one eastern tomorrow.
The lineup the Toronto Blue Jays handed into the umpire is the opening conversation I want to delve in. Revere-Donaldson-Bautista-Encarnacion-Tulowitzki-Smoak-Martin-Goins-Pillar was the unit employed today behind the arm of David Price and it just didn't work, some awful luck pertaining to injuries but it just didn't work. Injuries as just mentioned ran rampant for the Blue Jays as Josh Donaldson was forced to leave after getting kneed in the head while sliding into second base while Jose Bautista left the game late with cramping. Both players, particularly in Donaldson's case are anticipated to be in tomorrow's lineup as the bringer of rain passed the necessitative concussion tests which are protocol so it appears the Jays may avoided a disastrous scenario. 100 % health or not, Donaldson's and Bautista's spots in the lineup are not in question but some others won't, or shouldn't sleep as easy tonight. Justin Smoak's at bats were of the Dominican winter league variety. Judging solely off of his body language you couldn't ascertain whether he was playing game 45 in the regular season or game one of an American League divisional series. He's a mild mannered individual at the best of times but some of those at bats were freebie outs. As a avid Blue Jays supporter, do I trust Smoak more than Colabello, perhaps but with a lefty in Cole Hamels on the hill tomorrow understandably some thought should be given to Colabello starting. I could spend an entire paragraph critiquing the contributions but for the sake of time, I'll provide the Coles notes version when analyzing his game. What happened to Troy Tulowitzki's patience at the dish? Throughout the regular season especially the regular season TT had a knack of outsmarting opposing pitchers but when dealing with Yovani Gallardo today who had control issues the entire outing, all of a sudden we started seeing a plethora of first pitch swings. This is certainly not the Tulowitzki I've become familiar with and the Jays organization can't afford to become too familiar with either because they need somebody productive batting fifth. Tulowitzki isn't completely healthy, it doesn't take a doctor to figure this out but because of this, how much more leeway can this team give Tulo the rest of the way? This team is now down 1-0 in a best of five series, and my bold inner self says don't play him tomorrow but to break this down realistically because obviously he's going to play, bat him ninth. I'd much rather see catcher Russell Martin in the fifth hole as he was hitting too low in the batting order hitting seventh today. Assuming Bautista and Donaldson are good to go tomorrow, the lineup I'd like to see is: Revere-Donaldson-Bautista-Encarnacion-Martin-Goins-Smoak-Pillar-Tulowitzki.
Now to analyze today's pitching matchup I thought both David Price and Yovani Gallardo were solid today. David Price may receive a lot of criticism today, most unwarranted because other than the top half of the first inning where we saw an overuse of adrenalin kick in,he was throwing strikes and aside from Rougned Odor who I believe will very quickly be considered one of the best second baseman in baseball, he held the rest of the order in check. Gallardo on the other hand was solid but like mentioned a little while ago battled through some demand issues. The lack of patience shown by the usually patient Blue Jays hitter assisted Gallardo today. When the Rangers went to the bullpen early, too early which I was doing jumping jacks about because this is an unquestionable weakness for Texas but a combination of Kela, Diekman and Dyson shut the door on his high octane offence. Even though game one didn't go as planned for us in Canada let's rest assured that if we knock Cole Hamels out of the game early tomorrow, I don't foresee the Rangers bullpen shutting us down a consecutive day.