Jays draw Rangers as first-round foe,


ST. PETERS­BURG— The base­ball gods owe John Gib­bons a big-time favour.

In the hours lead­ing up to Mark Buehrle’s ul­ti­mately failed at­tempt to reach 200 in­nings for the 15th con­sec­u­tive sea­son, the Blue Jays man­ager cited fac­tors like a rain­out in Bal­ti­more that forced Mar­cus Stro­man to be backed off a day, mean­ing he was not avail­able for his sched­uled Sun­day start. That opened the door for the Buehrle de­ci­sion, as did shut­ting David Price down.

Gib­bons sug­gested the base­ball gods were hint­ing that pos­si­bly it was Buehrle’s op­por­tu­nity to reach his goal.

In­stead, it all went sour in hurry for the vet­eran left-han­der in a 12-3 loss at Trop­i­cana Field. Buehrle was be­trayed by his de­fence in the short­est out­ing of his ca­reer, two-thirds of an in­ning.

With the Jays fin­ish­ing sec­ond over­all in the AL, they will now host the three-seed, the Texas Rangers, who clinched first place in the AL West with a 9-2 win over the An­gels on Sun­day.

That Jays-Rangers ALDS be­gins at the Rogers Cen­tre with Games 1 and 2 on Thurs­day and Fri­day. The se­ries shifts to Ar­ling­ton for Games 3 and 4 on Sun­day and Mon­day. Game 5 would be on Wed­nes­day, Oct. 14 in Toronto. The first­place Roy­als will play the wild-card win­ner be­tween the Yan­kees and Astros which will take play at Yan­kee Sta­dium.

The Rangers are the team that could give the Jays trou­ble. In the reg­u­lar sea­son, the Jays fin­ished 4-2 against the Rangers.

How­ever, the Jays have not faced left-han­der Cole Hamels, who the Rangers ac­quired at the trade dead­line to be their David Price.

Hamels pitched on Sun­day and will not likely be avail­able un­til Game 2. They still have right-han­der Yo­vani Gallardo who is 2-0 against the Jays this sea­son and has not al­lowed a run in 132⁄ in­nings. Oth­ers in the rota

3 tion are Colby Lewis and Derek Hol­land.

The fi­nal play­off ros­ters do not have to be set un­til Thurs­day, the morn­ing of Game 1. When asked who would pitch Game 2 for the Jays, Gib­bons was tight-lipped, sug­gest­ing only that it would be the pitcher they felt gave them the best chance to win, re­gard­less of the sta­dium or venue. The most likely ro­ta­tion at this point in time would be right-han­der Mar­cus Stro­man in Game 2, with knuck­le­baller R.A. Dickey tak­ing Game 3 and right-han­der Marco Estrada pitch­ing Game 4.

The Rangers have a deep and tal­ented lineup, as do the Jays, with speed at the top and power in the mid­dle. It should make for a close, in­ter­est­ing se­ries.

“We get any ex­tra day to pre­pare,” Jose Bautista said about fi­nally know­ing their Rangers op­po­nent rather than wait­ing for a wild-card win­ner. “It’s not that much of a dif­fer­ence, but it’s still some­what of a good feel­ing know­ing that we ac­tu­ally played pretty well against Texas this year. Most of us do pretty well in that ball­park when we play there, too. It’s a hit­ters’ park just like ours. That’s prob­a­bly go­ing to help us.”

On Sun­day, the karma was all bad for Buehrle. The game got away from the Jays, capped by a grand slam home run to cen­tre field by Joey But­ler. The Jays’ 36-year-old left­hander faced 10 bat­ters, re­tir­ing just two on five hits. All eight runs against Buehrle were un­earned.

“He was around 40 pitches . . . no way I could leave him out there to rot,” Gib­bons said of Buehrle.


Jays starter Mark Buehrle heads back to the mound af­ter giv­ing up a first-in­ning grand slam to the Rays’ Joey But­ler on Sun­day in Florida.


The Jays’ Ryan Goins tags out the Rays’ Bran­don Guyer at sec­ond base dur­ing Sun­day’s game in St. Peters­burg.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.