The Blue Jays picked the absolute wrong time to get shut out for the first time in postseason play. Ever. And thanks to a kid who’d only thrown eleven major league innings ever until Wednesday afternoon, aided and abetted by that skin-tight bullpen, the Indians are going to the World Series after hammering down the Jays, 3-0.
They must have been afraid Trevor Bauer was going to throw a blood ball Monday night. I bet it would have had one helluva break thrown up to the plate. Either that or the Blue Jays feared the Indians—drawing first blood on a first-inning RBI double—really were out for blood.
Bauer’s ten-stitched pinkie bled from the now-infamous injury he incurred while working on one of the flying drones that are among his off-field hobbies. His blood is liable to become baseball’s most famous since that which seeped through Curt Schilling’s ankle-sheath stitches during the 2004 Red Sox’s surreal plunge back to the Promised Land.
Whatever it is they say about karma, Rougned Odor is going to hear more about it than he probably cares to hear. At least until he and his Rangers return to another postseason, preferably unscathed by a throwing error to leave the current postseason, or a stupid brawl over reactions to last-minute paybacks for things months in the past.
Police brutality—by or against—is a horrible thing. Unless you’re the Toronto Blue Jays against the Texas Rangers in the first two American League division games. The set goes to Toronto with the Rangers very much in danger of losing not only their badges but their minds.
Name one Ranger who expected to get destroyed 15-3 over the course of the two games. Name one who expected Cole Hamels to get billyclubbed for seven runs (six earned) in three and a third in Game One, or possibly still-slightly-ailing Yu Darvish to get bludgeoned for as many home runs as he had strikeouts in Game Two.
It turns out that I was right in how I called at least two of the punishments handed down for the Texas-Toronto basebrawl game Sunday. Elsewhere, there were a few surprises.
Rougned Odor, whose roundhouse to Jose Bautista’s face exploded what Matt Bush’s drill of Bautista and Bautista’s hard but nowhere near dirty slide into Odor at second base merely ignited, got eight games and a $5,000 fine. Bautista got one game off. Thinking twice, he should have gotten none and Odor probably should have gotten more.
So who’s going to get what as a result of 25 Rangers and one riot Sunday? That’s only the number one question around the game before today’s activities begin. There are obvious prospects and a few vague ones alike. If you were Joe Garagiola, Jr., baseball government’s enforcer, as it were, how would you rule? Herewith my call:
That was then: The Texas Rangers (the law enforcement outfit, that is) lived by the motto, “One riot, one Ranger.” The motto was fashioned by a Ranger captain, William McDonald, when he was sent to Dallas in 1896 to stop (wait for it) a prize fight.
This is now: The Texas Rangers (the baseball team, that is) lived Sunday by the apparent motto, “25 Rangers, one riot.” In their final game of a series and the season against the Toronto Blue Jays. All on behalf of avenging . . . a bat flip in last fall’s postseason.
Before you decide that Bryce Harper needs to beat his gums a little less, when he unhorses a schpritz against baseball getting tired, remind yourself that he really earned his bones on the matter last September. When he called out Jonathan Papelbon for throwing twice at Manny Machado’s head, after Machado had bombed Nationals pitching otherwise, then took it on the throat from Papelbon in a disgraceful incident for which Papelbon got, essentially, a season-ending slap on the wrist.
They barely have the streets swept clean following the Kansas City Royals’ World Series parade, and the off-season intrigues have begun in earnest. OK, a couple began when it barely began sinking in that the New York Mets had blown a Series they actually could have won, or when Don Mattingly left the Los Angeles Dodgers and became the Miami Marlins’ new manager. But let’s start looking:
In 1946 it was Enos Slaughter’s mad dash home in the eighth inning while Johnny Pesky held the ball. (Actually, he didn’t, but Pesky had no chance to throw home in time after taking a high throw in from center field.) And it meant a World Series triumph for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Almost seventy years later, it was Lorenzo Cain’s mad dash home while Jose Bautista threw to second. Also in the eighth inning. But it meant a trip to the World Series for the Kansas City Royals Friday night.