team, and after suffering their second playoff loss in as many days, I'm not of the mind to write about anything else.
GAME 2 THOUGHTS
1) Marcus Stroman was not only terrific this afternoon, but he has shown that he's a future ace. Despite the loss, the moment is never to big for this twenty-four-year old. That's encouraging. After they scored early, they didn't touch him until that bloop single in the eighth inning.
2) The defense has let them down in this series. Yes, they've made some nice plays in the field, but in the playoffs, everything changes on an error. That Martin error cost them the game. He's a great player, but he threw the ball well early for a rundown. That's nothing but nerves and anxiousness. It happens. But you can't beat a team like Texas with those kinds of mistakes. You can't.
3) The bullpen was magnificent. Two runs over seven innings, and those runs courtesy of the umps. Wonderful.
4) The Umps. Look, every team that loses in the playoffs complains about the umpires. But this was a disgrace. There was a detailed piece about the umpires on Grantland before last year's playoffs that show how umpires are selected. MLB insists that they choose based on performance. Except its not true. The umpire's union is so strong, only veterans work, regardless of what kind of year they had. This is unacceptable. Forget the horrific and ever shifting strike zone, what's the point of having replay, when a player is clearly being tagged and off the base, and you're going to call him safe. I won't say that the umps cost the Jays the game (look to my next point for that) but it cost a team not playing very well a chance to even the series.
5) Donaldson, Tulo, Edwin, and Bautista are a combined 5 for 35 in the series. Tulo is 0 - 10 with four strikeouts. This is the series right here. Today they had 8 hits over 14 innings. If your four superstars don't produce, you don't win. Period.
6) I don't buy into any of the stuff about them "taking the foot off the gas pedal." Honestly, I think the season may have ended (it's not over yet) when Osuna blew that game in Tampa on Saturday. I have no idea why people thought Texas was a good matchup for the Jays. Sure, they have two left-handed startes at the back of their rotation (I don't count Hamels, he's an ace), but they've show they struggle with Gallardo and the Rangers have Hamels. In a five game series, with their offense, that's plenty. Besides, they were nearly as hot as the Jays over the past two months.
To me, it was never about home field through the playoffs, it was about matchups. Toronto blew that game, and they got the one team in the league that's their krypotonite.
7) Loup looked okay today (the ball Hamilton hit was a shot), but losing Cecil is significant. How important it is, I'm not sure, but he's been the team's most consistent (and most dominant) reliever through the second half.
The Jays will win in Game 3. (Perez? Who? And a lefty?) I honestly think this team plays better as an underdog, and I think their hitters are due for a big game. (It'll be 10-2 or something like that on Sunday) Estrada has been great all year. I expect he'll be great again.
This series will be decided in Game 4. The odds suggest that Texas will not lose three games in a row. But the odds also suggested that a home-dominant club like the Jays wouldn't lose two in a row at home.
I think Texas wins a close Game Four to close it out. But if they don't, the Jays will win in five.
I'll unveil the Weekly Sports Burns this Monday. I have no idea how long it will be yet, but I'll divide the column between Local Sports (my teams) and National Sports (everyone else). Come along for the ride if you're interested, and if you have any comments or questions or requests, let me know.
Here's hoping I get to write that blog in a better mood.