Saturday, October 10, 2015

Blue Jays v Rangers-2015 ALDS game two recap Texas 6 Toronto 4

Gutwrenching, nail biting....pretty much every applicable adjective pertaining to down to the wire would be condoned when describing this instant classic that saw the Toronto Blue Jays fall just short to the Texas Rangers. The Jays have now dropped two games at home and now face the unenviable task of having to go down to Arlington and take two games on  the road to hopefully bring this series back to Toronto. I caution that I use the word hopefully loosely because the baseball fan in me after what I saw in games one and two doesn't quiver in confidence from a Blue Jays perspective.

What stood out in this ball game and really the entire series thusfar has been the effectiveness of the Texas bullpen. Internally, I had some major concerns with the Rangers bullpen coming in as I viewed this as a facet that could be exploited but more than anything else what's happened is that manager Jeff Banister has smartened up in delving out his bullpen assignments. I salivated at the possibility of the Jays big boppers getting a look at Shawn Tolleson late in games but that has not been the case as Jake Diekman and Sam Dyson(former property of the Blue Jays) have been virtually unhittable in this series. Specifically when breaking down the performance of Diekman, who was thought to be a throw in with the Cole Hamels acquisition has had his coming out party in the post-season.  Throughout the 2014 postseason, some would argue that reliever Andrew Miller, then of the Baltimore Orioles made a name for himself and he was able to parlay that into becoming the 2015 closer for the New York Yankees. I'm not proclaiming that Diekman is the next Andrew Miller but there eery similarities when watching the two tall southpaws pitch.  I remember mentioning to a friend during Texas' battle with the "Blow Jays" in the regular season that if I were Banister I would've instilled Diekman as the closer, and even though technically he does not yet carry that role, he's clearly been the most reliable reliever and the further the Rangers advance, the more responsibility Diekman will intake.

In the first inning, the man who many theorized was too "inept" to play important innings defensively Chris Colabello would've been hailed as the hero if the Jays could have found a way to win. That first inning defensive gem made with one out where he fielded a ground ball, showed an unforeseen level of patience while he stared down Prince Fielder at third, made the last second decision to tag out the batter Josh Hamilton and than proceeded to run over to third to tag Prince Fielder who figuratively fell asleep at the wheel running the base paths.  The top of the first was filled with defensive blunders but it was Colabello's masterfulness that kept the Jays within reach. Colabello also had  a timely hit when the Jays were down early, simply put the guy came out with  a purpose today.

A man who doesn't have any purpose, particularly offensively is Troy Tulowitzki. The guy holds his own playing shortstop but is hitting like horse manure and for the life of me don't understand why he was hitting fifth. Troy" the rally killer" Tulowitzki should be hitting ninth in the lineup, and if he's held in the same spot in the lineup for game three I will permanently abandon my fanfare for the Blue Jays(not the first time as I'm the perennial bandwagon jumper). I'm not denying there's a strong chance that he isn't completely healthy but the post-season isn't the time to coddle boo-boos, productivity is paramount. 

The one last point I'll share about this treacherous ball game, and by the way the strike zone was worse then some games you'll witness in Little League Baseball, video below was the decision to trot out veteran Latroy Hawkins in the fourteenth and not Liam Hendriks. Hawkins undoubtedly has the experience having pitched in the playoffs before but Hendriks has been more consistent over the last month and I just thought that when you're involved in what essentially is a must win game, go with your best guys and on my personal pecking order Hendriks is ahead of Latroy.

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