The Texas Rangers attempted to finish off the Toronto Blue Jays again, and failed, again. In the battle between a talented lefty and a crafty knuckleballer, the knuckleballer won, but didn’t get the win.
- Derek Holland ended the regular season on a series of bad starts, a series that continued into this series. He allowed a two-run HR to Josh Donaldson and a solo shot to Chris Colabello in the first inning, then a home run to Kevin Pillar in the top of the second, and then a walk and a long double in the third, and exited the game having recorded six total outs.
- Postseason warrior Colby Lewis replaced Holland and gave up a down-the-line double, extending the Toronto lead to 6-0. Lewis allowed one more run after that, settling into the solid-if-not-impressive rhythm he has become known for in the latter half of his career.
- R.A. Dickey became the oldest pitcher to make his postseason debut, and despite having David Price ready and waiting in the bullpen, made it through 4 2/3 innings allowing one run. It would have been nice, narratively, to see Dickey get the win in this situation, but with a six run lead and one runner on, he was pulled an out shy. Oddddd.
- After Dickey’s exit, the Jays brought in David Price, an unusual move for a team with a 99 percent chance of reaching Game 5. Price pitched three innings on 50 pitches, giving up three runs, not even saving Toronto manager John Gibbons from having to use an additional reliever. Anyway, that couldn't be the motive for the move: No Jays reliever had thrown more than 11 pitches the previous day, and Tuesday's a travel day. While it’s understandable that Team Ace would be an option for close game, it’s less understandable in a game in which Toronto had a six-run lead and another game to win this week. This does, however, almost certainly confirm that Marcus Stroman will start on Wednesday afternoon. The open question is whether this leaves Price available to pitch in relief again on Wednesday. If he does, it then raises the question of who would start Game One (or Two!) of an ALCS, which starts Friday.
- Adrian Beltre, future Hall of Famer, took some swings in the indoor batting cage, ran a little under the stadium, and talked his way back into the lineup just three days after leaving Game One with a back strain. Not only did he hit, but he played third base with most of his normal grace. I’m going to editorialize for a minute: You’ll not find a more strident opponent than me of the idiotic “play through pain, toughen up, injuries are for wimps” philosophy so often espoused by certain former and active baseball players, but the fact that Adrian Beltre has played through numerous ridiculous injuries that would have felled mortal man is just… well, it’s inspiring. There has to be a recognition that though many love and admire Beltre, his insistence on playing isn’t always the best plan for anyone not named “Adrian Beltre.”
- Prince Fielder, Mitch Moreland, and Josh Hamilton had combined for a total of three hits before game four, an issue for a team already weak on hitting—and especially so with Beltre's injury. Fielder, at least, added one, and lived up to the nickname “Sprints Fielder” when he scored from second on an Elvis Andrus single.
- Texas will go to Toronto with Cole Hamels, hoping that their uncommon winning skills on the road show up one last time, while Toronto will counter with Marcus Stroman, looking for their first home postseason win in 22 years. While it’s not been a pleasant series for fans of either team, it’s been a lot of interesting baseball for everyone else, even if most of it has occurred during work hours.
Wednesday’s game will take place in Toronto at 3:07 CT/ 4:07 local time. No word yet on whether or not the roof will be open or closed, but the forecast is for a 30 percent chance of rain and a high of 55ËšF (13Ëš C).
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