For the second day in a row the Blue Jays roughed up a Rangers starter, and won Game Two of the ALDS by a score of 5-3.
Yu Darvish went 5 innings and surrendered a career-high 4 homers, which is the same number of strikeouts he recorded. The scoring opened in the 2nd on a Troy Tulowitzki two-run HR, and the Jays added three solo shots in the top of the 5th — an inning after the Rangers scratched and clawed for their first run of the game.
Texas’s offense was steady in hitting singles throughout the day, but when it came to hitting with men in scoring position they fell completely flat. Incredibly the Rangers produced 13 hits and 3 doubles, but went just 2-18 (.111) with RISP.
The Blue Jays, meanwhile, did not have a single plate appearance with runners in scoring position.
The Rangers left at least two men on base in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 7th innings, and one man on in the 6th, 8th and 9th. Only in the 5th did they get retired in order.
With consecutive losses the Rangers will now get a travel day before facing elimination in Toronto on Sunday. The last two days, with their two-best starters on the bump, Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish combined to go 8.1 IP, 11 hits (5 HRs), 12 runs (11 ER), 4 walks, 5 strikeouts. That simply won’t get it done.
The loss also makes the Rangers 1-11 all-time in ALDS home games, an almost unprecedented level of bad for a team that regularly carries .600-plus winning percentages at home during the regular season.
Now Texas is all hands on deck for the rest of the series, which could end on Sunday. They have Colby Lewis going against Toronto’s Aaron Sanchez, which loosely equates to their best starter against arguably our worst, and on the road no less. This is the postseason and anything can happen, but the time for holding our collective breath passed at some point during the 9th inning on Friday.
I think the toughest pill to swallow is the fact that the Rangers one real advantage in the series — its bullpen — hasn’t gotten to shine because Texas has been in such a hole early on in both games. The Rangers trailed 7-0 when Cole Hamels exited on Thursday, and 5-1 when Yu Darvish was taken out on Friday. You can’t leverage the bullpen at such a scoreboard disadvantage.
My feeling is, if Colby Lewis runs into trouble in the first or second inning on Sunday, we’ll see Keone Kela and company ready to go right away. After all, there is nothing to play for the following day if they don’t come out with a win on Sunday.
Regardless, this is the reality of postseason baseball. The Rangers had one of their best regular seasons of my lifetime, and here we are less than a work-week removed from the regular season and they are on the brink of being eliminated. This just isn’t the way I envisioned things.