American League Division Series:
Game Four: Blue Jays 8, Rangers 4; best-of-five series tied 2-2
Well, the Blue Jays did it. Facing elimination, Toronto outscored the Rangers 13-5 over a two-game sweep in Arlington, and the series will now return north of the border for a winner-take-all Game Five.
In Game Four -- a matchup pinning LHP Derek Holland up against ex-Ranger and current knuckleballer R.A. Dickey -- Texas never stood a chance. Holland allowed 1st inning HRs to Josh Donaldson and Chris Colabello to give the Blue Jays a 3-0 lead before the Rangers took their first swings. In the second, Kevin Pillar hit a solo shot against Derek to make it 4-0, and two more runs would eventually be charged to his line.
This is, of course, the same route Texas took in the 2010 ALDS, as well, winning its first two games in Tampa Bay before losing the next two at home. In a deciding Game 5, Cliff Lee sent the Rangers to the ALCS. Cole Hamels will have the same opportunity on Wednesday.
A couple things I didn't appreciate: (1) Trailing 4-0, Jeff Banister paid Derek Holland a visit on the mound, when the FWST's Jeff Wilson posted this on Twitter:
Appears as though Jeff Banister just took a page from the Ron Washington book of putting Derek Holland in his place.— Jeff Wilson (@JeffWilson_FWST) October 12, 2015
Wait, what? Which "place" does Holland need to be put in? Why would Banister choose the middle of a playoff game where his starter is getting shelled to put him there? That tweet was garbage, and particularly cheap from the uninspired local beat writer. I'm sure somewhere in there he's not so subtly perpetuating the tired narrative that Holland is a mischievous child in need of paternal guidance from an authority figure, even though he's been around pitching in these huge games since the team made its first postseason run way back in '10.
Secondly, the crowd actually had the nerve to boo Derek while he left the mound. I understand the whole "Paying customers should have the right to boo" bit that people try to push on me whenever I make these arguments for why booing is so stupid, but booing Derek Holland? Really?
The Rangers drafted him in the 25th round in the 2006 draft, developed him through in the minors, and had a middle-rotation left-hander to show for themselves. Including his options, he's under contract for 2016, '17 and '18. And many Rangers fans booed him for one lousy start against the best offense on the planet. Shame on all of them.
Even through this frustration from being up 2-0 to being tied 2-2, I can't escape the idea that, three months ago, if you would have told me the Rangers would get the chance at a winner-take-all Game 5 to get to the ALCS, I would have said hell yeah let's do the damn thing. And here we are.
Game 5 is Cole Hamels vs. Marcus Stroman. First pitch will be at 3:07 PM (local time) and will be televised nationally on FS1.