clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Thoughts on a 10-1 ALDS Game 1 Rangers loss

Jays 10, Rangers 1

MLB: ALDS-Toronto Blue Jays at Texas Rangers Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Jays 10, Rangers 1

  • Well, that was ugly, and unfortunate.
  • As I mentioned on Twitter, this game was reminiscent of Game 1 of the 2011 ALDS. Texas, at home, got down early to the visiting Tampa Bay Rays, and lost 9-0, getting just two hits, both from Elvis Andrus. My recollection was that there was much uproar and unhappiness then, and the Rangers then won the next three games of the series.
  • We can argue if the Jays are better than the Rays of 2011 or whatever other differences there are, but the point is, its one game, and not necessarily a harbinger of what is to come.
  • That said, there’s very little positive to come out of this game. Alex Claudio did his usual bit of coming in and soaking up a bunch of innings while pitching well, while getting little recognition. Tony Barnette pitched a scoreless inning. Elvis Andrus had two hits. And I think that’s about it for the positives.
  • The negatives...well, we were hoping that the bright lights of October would result in Cole Hamels’ command problems he’s been battling for a couple of months going away. Instead, we saw Hamels start out well, and then things completely go south in the 3rd inning.
  • The crazy thing is, Hamels had two outs and a runner on first at one point in the inning, with two strikes on Josh Donaldson, just needing to finish him off to get out of the inning with the score still 0-0. But Hamels gave up a double to Donaldson, making it 1-0. Then he gave up a hard hit ball to Edwin Encarnacion back up the middle that Rougned Odor likely would have fielded for a third out, but Hamels made a play for it, got his glove on it, deflected it, and it went for an infield single. Then Jose Bautista singled, and Russell Martin walked, and it was 2-0 with the bases loaded and two outs and Troy Tulowitzki at the plate. Tulowitzki blasted the ball to deep right-center field...but it looked like Ian Desmond might make a play on it. However, at the last minute, Desmond pulled up, apparently mis-judging where the ball was, and instead of a great running catch to end the inning, it was a bases-clearing triple, making it 5-0 and sucking the life out of Globe Life Park.
  • Hamels gave up two more runs in the fourth, with Melvin Upton hitting a lead off home run, and then a one out Elvis Andrus poor throw for an error putting on a baserunner who went to second on a Jonathan Lucroy passed ball and scoring on a Donaldson single, which chased Hamels, with 7 runs (6 earned) on his ledger.
  • If things had broken a little bit differently, Hamels would have gotten out of the third with fewer than five runs in, and maybe would have ended up with a respectable line, but he was off his game today. I kept thinking during the third and fourth innings that this felt like one of those Martin Perez starts where he can’t miss bats, things start snowballing, breaks go against the Rangers, and things get ugly quick. And Hamels’ biggest problem today was he couldn’t put batters away...he threw 56 of his 82 pitches for strikes, and kept getting two strikes on batters, but only had 4 swinging strikes on the day. In the 2016 regular season, his lowest swinging strike total was 6. It was Hamels doing a very good impersonation of a very bad Martin Perez start.
  • Jake Diekman also continued to struggle, as he has for the last six weeks or so. A Jose Bautista three run home run capped the scoring, as Diekman allowed 4 hits and a walk in the 9th inning. The command issues are what made Diekman available as part of the Hamels trade last season, and he appeared to have largely put them behind him since coming over to the Rangers, but they’ve returned at a bad time, and at this point, I have my doubts Jeff Banister feels comfortable using Diekman in a key situation.
  • The bats, meanwhile, were largely dead today. Marco Estrada used his changeup to completely neutralize the Rangers’ bats. There’s little positive to say about the offensive performance today...even Elvis, who had the Rangers’ lone run and their only multi-hit day, got thrown out trying to steal second base with the team down 7.
  • All in all, it was a mess. Hamels was awful, Estrada was great, the defense was disappointing, the bats were non-existent.
  • Fortunately, this isn’t the Wild Card Game. There’s another game tomorrow at noon, and Texas has Yu Darvish going, looking to even the series.