The Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles battled for the Wild Card spot in the American League Division Series against the Texas Rangers. It was a one and done game and stakes were very high for both teams. I glanced at the game and saw an early lead by the Blue Jays, who could have been the Division champions had they not choked toward the end of August into September. Quite frankly, I was rooting for the team who I thought had the best chance of beating the Red Sox. Unfortunately, that team did not advance to the ALDS.
As reported by USA Today in the overnight, "Edwin Encarnacion’s walk-off three-run home run off Ubaldo Jimenez sent a boisterous – and at one point, bad-behaving crowd - into a frenzy and the Blue Jays on to Texas for an ALDS rematch with the Rangers. Game 1 of the ALDS is Thursday in Arlington." The bad behavior the article eludes to is a fan's launch of a full can of beer at Orioles left fielder Hyun Soo Kim narrowly missing him while he fielded a fly ball in the eighth inning. Manager Buck Showalter stepped out of the dugout to check on his players, including Adam Jones who was clearly shaken up by the incident.
The biggest controversy in the game centered around Showalter's decision to sit out closer Zach Britton. Fox Sports headline simply read, "What was Buck Showalter thinking?" I often uttered the similar words after losses like this one by our Bronx Bombers.
"Britton, whose Win Probability Added this season was the highest for an American League pitcher since Pedro Martinez in 1999, was healthy and could have easily been ready in the highest-leverage moment of the game. But Orioles manager Buck Showalter didn't want him," reported Fox Sports. Britton finished the season with 47 saves .054 ERA; good enough to be considered for Cy Young Award.
Well, as I always say, Too Bad So Sad! The Orioles go home for a long winter's nap and the Blue Jays head to Texas. Next up, Wild Card #2, Mets vs. Giants. May the best team win from San Fransisco.
--Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Senior Staff Writer
BYB Hot Stove Columnist