The Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Texas Rangers in a historic game 5 win for the Jays in the ALDS. The win granted the Jays the chance of winning the ALCS and heading to the World Series. Jose Bautista connected a 3-run shot to deep left to send the Rogers Centre into a frenzy, giving the Blue Jays a 6-3 lead. The Jays held on to win the contest which completed the comeback of the Rangers. The Bautista bomb sent the Rogers Centre crowd into a frenzy, but it is what happened when the Rangers were at-bat that sent them into a rage. A questionable call led to a 3-2 lead for the Rangers. As Russell Martin was throwing the ball back to the pitcher, the ball deflected off the batter’s bat, which allowed the runner at 3rd to run home and score. I have never seen a call like that before, so I had no clue what the provisions of that were. But regardless of the rule, the ump called the play dead, well before the runner crossed the plate. It is a moot point now of course, as the Jays won, but if they would have lost that there would have been a riot in Toronto.
The Blue Jays have to quickly turn their attention to the Kansas City Royals. They can’t still be thinking about the Rangers and have their heads wrapped in the celebration. Treating the win like it’s a World Series win won’t bode well in this round. This is going to be a very good series, I can tell you that much. A 7th game in this series would not be surprising. The Royals after going to the World Series last season are expected to go to the next level and actually win it all. The Blue Jays on the other hand, with all of the talent in the world on their roster, are expected to win it on talent alone. In other words, a loss for both teams in this series would be a pretty big letdown. The Blue Jays shook off a slow start to get here in the first two games. The offense woke up and a visit to Kansas City is their reward. We’ll see how this series unfolds between the Blue Jays and Royals as the ALCS starts tonight in KC.
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Kansas City Royals
Marco Estrada (14-8, 3.07 ERA) vs. Edinson Volquez (13-10, 3.58)
The Blue Jays didn’t have to use Marco Estrada against the Rangers in game 5 so that is good news for them. He gets the nod here after Stroman took care of business to get to this game. Estrada has been the X-Factor for the Jays this season. David Price is the ace, but Price was in the dark in the last series against the Rangers. He got hit against them in game 1 and Price didn’t see another start in the series. Price has a history of getting abused by the Rangers, so there isn’t any need to overreact to that. Estrada comes in with a 3.07 ERA and 2.66 in his has three starts. He pitched a beautiful game in the one game he was called in against the Rangers, posting 1 run against in 6.1 innings pitched. That start was imperative from Estrada to get the Blue Jays to the ALCS.
In these postseason pitching matchups, it always seems like it comes down to a veteran against a young pitcher. Here Volquez is the veteran, as he has twelve years of experience heading into the ALCS. Volquez had one start in the last series against the Astros, allowing 3 runs and 5 hits in five innings. It wasn’t bad, it was great either for Volquez. Estrada has a career 2.92 over the Royal, with Volquez commanding a 6.46 ERA. The Blue Jays kill fastball pitchers. If you’re going to toss fastballs all night then the Jays will lay in to those balls. I said if the Jays get hot, then they get really hot. They’ve now scored 19 runs in their last three games. Estrada is better than people think. Jays grab game 1 which will lead up to an interesting game 2 of the ALCS.
PICK: BLUE JAYS TO WIN -118