Texas leads the ALDS 1-0
By my count, 400 of the 403 "experts" around the baseball publications on the Internet predicted the Blue Jays would coast to the ALCS over the Rangers.
The Blue Jays are obvious the superior team, I don't think anyone would disagree with that. But the Rangers and Blue Jays were scheduled to play only five games and now the Rangers have to win just two of the next four while the Blue Jays have to essentially win a four game series.
The Rangers did it without the efforts of their leader and best player for most of the game as Adrian Beltre was forced to leave the game with back stiffness. Beltre took a hard slide in the top of the 1st inning and was visibly hurt after driving in Delino DeShields for the Rangers' second run in the top of the 3rd.
Adrian Beltre has carried this team. He's the heart and soul. It was unbelievably heart wrenching to see him forced off the field in tears. The Rangers won this game today for him.
Wouldn't you know it, t was David Price in a dome with artificial turf and national TV regulating them to an afternoon game again. We've been there before. In fact, here's how this same match up shook out:
2010: 6.2 IP, 9 H, 5R, 0BB, 8K, 2 HR allowed
Here's how it happened today: 7 IP, 5 H, 5R, 2BB, 5K, 2 HR allowed
Price allowed a two-run dong to Robinson Chirinos in the top of the 5th and Rougned Odor ambushed Price for a solo dinger in the top of the 7th. Price is now 0-4 against the Rangers in the playoffs. That's called having a guy's number.
Yovani Gallardo, on the other hand, was a guy who very well could have missed the playoff rotation against a different team and he took the ball and gave the Rangers five innings of two-run ball to pick up the win. He also grew up a Rangers fan. That's the dream.
The bullpen went with Keone Kela/Jake Diekman/Sam Dyson from their superb 'pen to close out the game. Tolleson, the closer, was absent as the Rangers decided to go with Dyson's turbo monster sinker in the 9th against Toronto's sluggers.
Kela, in his first playoff action, allowed the Jays' third run when Jose Bautista took him deep. It was the first home run Kela had allowed since July 30 which happened to also be the first run he'd allowed overall since that date. After Bautista led off the inning with a bomb, Kela settled in and got the next three Jays hitters. The bullpen then went three scoreless innings with Diekman in particular looking great as he gave the Rangers two scoreless, hitless innings. Dyson pitched a solid 9th to pick up a postseason save because this season is normal.
This series is obviously not over, so there's plenty of times for those experts to be right, but the Rangers took game one against the vaunted Blue Jays in their house to guarantee nothing short of a series where the Rangers must be taken seriously.
Tomorrow: 11:45 a.m. LHP Cole Hamels vs RHP Marcus Stroman on MLBN.
Player of the Game: Rougned Odor looked a little green the last week of the season as it seemed like he wanted to hit a 5-run dinger every at-bat and made a few rushed plays in the field. Today, Rougned Odor was the best player on the field. He's 21. In his first playoff game he went 1-2 with two HBPs, a laser blast home run, and scored three runs.