The Toronto Blue Jays will live to play one more day. On Wednesday afternoon at the Rogers Centre, the Blue Jays and Rangers will face off in the fifth and deciding game of their ALDS series.
Nobody could have predicted how this series would get to this point, which is the main reason why it’s been so entertaining. If you’re a fan of the Toronto Blue Jays, you’ve likely experienced the gamut of emotions over the past week.
Game to game, it hasn’t been the best series thus far as it’s really just been both teams trading blows. But something has to give in Game 5 with Marcus Stroman and Cole Hamels starting for their respective teams.
Price Comes out of the Bullpen
The move that drew the most criticism by John Gibbons was not only his decision to give R.A. Dickey the hook in the fifth inning with a six-run lead; it was Gibbon’s decision to bring in David Price out of the bullpen four days after his start in Game 1.
Admittedly, it was an unorthodox move, but the postseason is where unorthodox often lives and thrives. Just look back to last year when Madison Bumgarner helped secure a World Series victory for the San Francisco Giants by picking up a five-inning save.
I guess the main qualm with John Gibbons using David Price in Game 4 is that Price would then be unavailable in Game 5 in Toronto. Considering Price’s recent string of starts, that might not actually be a bad thing.
No disrespect to David Price, but if I had to hand the ball to a starter in a deciding game, I’d probably let Marcus Stroman take the mound.
The other thing is people wanted Gibbons to save Price for Game 5. The only problem is the Jays had to get to Game 5, first. And if that required using David Price out of the bullpen for three innings, I’m all for it.
Plus, if David Price was going to get knocked around for three runs in three innings, wouldn’t you rather have it when the Blue Jays had a six-run lead rather than starting Give 5 outright?
Dickey Holds it Down
He may have gotten the quick hook in the fifth inning, but R.A. Dickey managed to hold his own against one of the most potent offenses in all of baseball in a hitter-friendly ballpark.
Typically, sending a knuckleballer to the hill during an elimination game would be like walking a tightrope act, but Dickey kept most Blue Jays’ fans heart rates relatively low during his start.
I don’t doubt that R.A. Dickey likely could have gone a few more innings in that start, but with it being an elimination game, John Gibbons didn’t want to take any chances. And many times, coming in with the late hook on Dickey has come back to bite the Blue Jays.
It wasn’t the dominant outing that everyone will remember for years to come, but I think that start will help a lot of people finally come to peace with the R.A. Dickey trade.
When he was initially acquired in late 2012, the Blue Jays brought in R.A. Dickey to pitch in the postseason. And some three years later, now that he finally has, no longer might you hear Blue Jays’ fans lament giving up Noah Syndergaard for R.A. Dickey.
Game 5 – Do or Die
Who would’ve guessed that after that heartbreaking 6-4 inning loss in extras last Friday, the Blue Jays would win the next two consecutive games on the road and bring the series back to Toronto?
They still have to unleash one more decisive blow to take out the Texas Rangers, but the fact that the Blue Jays rallied to even up this series at two games a piece is remarkable in itself.
Whether or not you believe in momentum, the Blue Jays have all of it right now. The Rangers had two opportunities to put away the Blue Jays, and they failed. And now the Jays have the chance to clinch this series at home with Marcus Stroman on the hill.
It’s incredible that the home team in this series has yet to win a game; road clubs have won all four games in the series thus far. There hasn’t really been much in the way of a home field advantage for either team, but the Blue Jays will look to reverse those fortunes on Wednesday.
Regardless of what happens in Game 5 for the Blue Jays, it’s gratifying to see they didn’t get swept and just laid down for the Rangers. That’s the last thing you want to see happen after such an incredible regular season.