Ranger’s fans have been here before on multiple occasions in the 2011 World Series. Whatever you want to call it, painful, excruciating, unbelievable, or just in disbelief. Now here we are in 2015 and the Rangers aren’t faced with quite the magnitude of a World Series ring but facing an elimination game 5 across the border in Canada.
Up two games to none and heading back to Texas, this looked like a team that would sweep its way to the ALCS. The struggles of a young and inexperienced team reared its ugly head the past few games. Bannister will probably win AL Manager Of The Year and he certainly deserves the accolade but he’s learning how to manage a team in the playoffs for the first time as well.
He may regret his decision to start Holland or a young Perez in games 3 and 4 but he can’t take all the blame and at some point Derek Holland has got to take the next step forward in order to be a true top 3 starter. For me, Texas came out flat and uninspired for a game 3 in front of a huge home crowd. Toronto’s backs were against the wall and they flat out dominated the Rangers.
In game 4, the three keys to the game were: 1. Start fast and get the lead early (Toronto up 4-0 in the 3rd inning killed that) 2. Holland needed to stand up and produce (gave up 3 home runs and didn’t make it past the 3rd inning) 3. Fielder and the mashers had to get it going offensively and they obviously didn’t get it done with fielder sporting a sub .100 average in the series). Toronto had the best record in the AL for a reason and it’s showing finally in this series.
In order for Texas to have any shot in game 5 their veteran leadership has to step up and produce offensively. Fielder and Moreland have to wake up to start driving in runs. Fielder is slumping and hasn’t been as effective in the 2nd half of the season for whatever reason. He can get rid of his past playoff history slump by a strong game 5 and possibly further.
For game 5 the Ranger’s will send out their big money ace Cole Hamels. This is what you signed him for and hopefully he’s got some magic left to shutdown this potent Jays attack. If Bannister wants to play the numbers he may even mix in some Yovani Gallardo as he has dominated Toronto this season. If the Rangers pitchers can limit mistakes and keep the ball in the park they have a great chance to win.
Prediction: Only 2 teams in the modern ALDS era (since 1995) has a team come back to win down 0-2 at home to take the series. I do think Hamels starts and has a dominant outing like he’s capable of and the Rangers get enough of Stroman to force the jays into tough decisions. I do believe this game will be close the whole way and it will take at least 4 runs to win it. I think Beltre is the hero with a homer to propel the Rangers into the ALCS. Let’s say 6-5, Ranger’s take the win and series.
The road warriors continue their dominance and head to either Kansas City or await Houston in Arlington.