By Bob Elliott
The thing about teams that live and die with the home run: they don’t always hit home runs in the post season.
Strike throwers are a different animal in October, not pitching as long so they are throwing harder and pitching staffs eliminate back-end guys due to the off days.
The Texas Rangers have hit two home runs two games into the best-of-five American League Division Series in 23 innings.
And Your Toronto Blue Jays have hit two home runs.
The Rangers lead the Jays 2-0 as moves to Arlington, Tex. for Game 3 on Sunday.
Unless Jays hitters suddenly find a two-strike approach -- maybe over Arkansas on Friday’s charter, or at Saturday’s workout -- it will be ...
See you in Dunedin, have a nice winter.
A 93-win season doesn’t get you far in the post-season.
Not when you lose 5-3 a winnable game in 14 innings as the Jays did on Friday.
Not when the Jays have two hits in their final 32 at-bats (.063) -- one a Ben Revere infield single in the eighth, the other a Chris Colabello single leading off the 12th.
The rest of the time: pffffftt.
Blame plate ump Vic Carapazza -- as both teams did for 13 innings.
Or blame the replay officials in New York, but the fact remains the Jays are hitting a lusty .146 (12-for-82) after two games.
Who would have thunk a week ago that the Jays would have their backs against the walls of Six Flags over Arlington?
“There is less margin for error, now but we still have to win three games,” Jose Bautista told reporters. “We played great but they outplayed us. Yes, I saw the play at second and I saw the replay on the board.”
With two out in the 14th Rougned Odor singled off LaTroy Hawkins and so did Chris Gimenez. Bautista came up throwing behind Odor and Troy Tulowitzki applied the tag. He was ruled safe. Jays manager John Gibbons asked for a reply. The call stood: safe.
“I’d like to get an answer from the replay booth in New York, I know it’s not protocol,” said Bautista. “But Toronto fans deserve an answer.”
Hanser Alberto, the back-up infielder who took over for injured Adrien Beltre at third, singled home the speedy Odor with the game winner.
Bautista like a lot of other Jays players wasn’t touching any questions about the strike zone which appeared as if some innings it was on wheels as one player said.
“We made some errors in the first,” Bautista said “the ball hit my glove as I hit the wall (a Delino DeShields drive), I should have made the play.”
The first four Rangers reached before Colabello touched first and ran to third to tag Prince Field for the not-so-routine double play.
“You can’t look back at one moment,” said Colabello, “it’s a collective thing: if we field the ball in the first, if the ball stays in Jose’s glove, if the ball doesn’t come off the turf, skip off Ryan Goins’ mitt, if Josh Donaldson and Edwin Encarnacion don’t hit balls home-run distance that are 3-5-7 feet or whatever foul, it’s a different game.
“You have to make your own breaks. The task is to win three games, not two. We still have a chance.”
Teams losing the first games at home and heading onto the road are 2-27 in best-of-five series. The 2012 San Francisco Giants rallied to beat the Cincinnati Reds and the 2001 New York Yankees came back to beat the Oakland A’s -- Derek Jeter made a back-handed flip, perhaps you saw the replay.
Ah, not a good ratio if you are charting and rooting along at home.
“It’s been a bit crazy,” said reliever Aaron Sanchez, who recorded the final two outs in the 12th and pitched a scoreless 13th. “I would have liked to have gone out a third time too. Now? Now we’ll have to go down there and win two and get the series back here before our fans.”
The Jays had a 4-3 lead with four outs remaining when Mike Napoli singled off Brett Cecil to force extras.
As late-season ones-that-got-away go, this reminded us of Game 160 on a Friday night at old Exhibition Stadium in 1985. Tom Henke had two out, fans were ready to celebrate Toronto’s first American League East Division title when New York Yankees’ Butch Wynegar hit a homer and three batters later Lloyd Moseby dropped a ball in the rain as the Jays lost.
They won the next day, Game 161 a Saturday afternoon, by hitting three homers.
Now, the Jays need to have three Saturdays from 1985 in a row ...
Or begin slapping line drives to right field, which is likely pretty tough at this stage.
You live by the three-run homer ... and you know how the rest goes ... you get eliminated when you don’t have the three-run homer.
The only other remaining option: pack up, have a great winter and we’ll see y’all in Dunedin.
It’s up to them.
House hunting: Realtors say incoming president Mark Shapiro, who is leaving the Cleveland Indians to take over for Paul Beeston as Blue Jays president has purchased a home in Leaside. That would be different than former general manager J.P. Ricciardi, who lived in Oakville one year at Glen Abbey golf course and the spent the rest of his tenure as Jays GM living in Worcester, Mass.
Empty the benches: Reliever Keone Kela quick pitched Donaldson to lead off the 13th. Donaldson hit a ball home run distance but it was foul and then began yelling at Kela, who walked toward the plate ... On-deck hitter Bautista became involved in the shooting match too as benches emptied but only insults were exchanged ... “I’m not going to let Josh stand out there defenceless,” said Bautista, “(Kela) began to walk toward the plate and their dugout began to empty.”
Briefy:: Briefly: Marie-Claude Pelland-Marcotte was the official scorekeeper for this one and had about enough ink for one more inning recording 19 hits, including three doubles and a homer; 25 strikeouts, six walks, three stolen bases, 15 pitchers and 423 total pitches ... The headline on ESPN jars you: “Hanser Alberto’s RBI single in 14th puts Rangers up 2-0 on Jays” Two days ago I only knew Alberto Callaspo of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Alberto VO5 ... Scout Tim Conroy of the Kansas City Royals has been scouting the Jays for the past 34 games now has help. One of the Royals heavy hitters, and most respected scouts in the game (as his father was) Jim Fregosi, Jr. rolled into town to evaluate the Jays.
TV Talk: Sportsnet picked up the MLB Network feed with Jim Kaat, Ken Rosenthal and Bob Costas in Game 2, after carrying FOX for Game 1 ... Costas paid Tom Cheek, the former Jays broadcaster and Ford C. Frick winner a nice tribute ... Rogers Communications owns post-season rights for all Jays games, but Rogers chose not to air the games due to production costs, so Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler are part of the pre and post-game shows ... MLB Network archivists unearthed footage of John Gibbons’ one and only home run in the majors on Friday. Gibbons went deep to left against Philadelphia Phillies reliever Michael Jackson leading off the eighth in a 9-5 New York Mets win at Shea Stadium. Gibbons hit .220 in 57 plate appearances in parts of two seasons with the Mets.
Too much rest: David Price hit Yankees’ Jacoby Ellsbury with a 3-2 pitch on April 22 at Comerica Park and it took 200 innings later until he hit another left-handed hitter in Rougned Odor leading off the third inning of Game 1 of the ALDS. And two innings later he hit Odor again. Odor saw four Price pitches. He took a pitch, was hit twice and hit a solo homer. The only other hitters Price hit in the 200 innings were right-handed hitters Jose Abreu of the White Sox and Billy Burns of the A’s. Price was working on 11 days rest ... The 2-through-7 hitters, were a combined 1-for-21 (.048) with three walks and seven strikeouts against Price. The one hit was Beltre’s run-scoring single in the third inning. Yet, 8-9-1 portion was a combined 4-for-10 (.400) with a double, two homers and four RBIs. Odor (No. 8 hitter), Robinson Chirinos (No. 9) and DeShields (No. 1) did most of the hitting in Game 1.
Pre-game: Pat Hentgen threw a strike -- if Galen Cisco umping -- to Mark Buehrle. Hentgen won 19 games for the 1993 Jays who beat the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series. O Canada was played by organist Ken Kaufman and the Star-Spangled Banner was sung by Douglas Tranquada.