Photo Credit: © Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Series Recap: Death, Taxes, And The Blue Jays Winning A Series Against The Rangers

It’s always a good time when the Texas Rangers come into town. This is an exciting, heated rivalry, and it’s also hilariously one-sided. The last time we saw the Rangers, the Jays swept them in the ALDS, and it seems these two teams picked up right where they left off.

What happened?

On Friday, Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki returned to the lineup, giving the Jays a massive boost. Devon Travis clubbed a grand slam in the second inning and Justin Smoak and Kendrys Morales added a couple homers of their own. That was enough for Mike Bolsinger and the bullpen, who made it closer than it needed to be in the ninth inning. 7-6 Blue Jays

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On Saturday, Marco Estrada and Yu Darvish battled in a pitcher’s duel. The Rangers couldn’t do anything with Estrada, who controlled the zone and confused hitters with his off speed stuff. In the fifth inning, Jose Bautista broke through and clubbed a three-run bomb off Darvish and that’s all the Jays would need. 3-1 Jays.

On Sunday, the Jays had an opportunity to earn a sweep, but struggled with Andrew Cashner, giving Joe Biagini virtually zero room for error. They rallied in the ninth off of Matt Bush, but couldn’t complete the comeback. 3-1 Rangers.

Things that were good

  • I wrote yesterday about how beating the Rangers is always a little sweeter than beating other teams. It’s fun how sour they are about the Blue Jays owning them over the past two seasons, and the best way to rub it in their face is to keep winning.
  • One of the highlights of the series was Rougned Odor wiping out coming out of the batter’s box. It’s just another hilarious thing to add to the Blue Jays vs Rangers scrapbook.
  • Speaking of the scrapbook, Jose Bautista’s homer off Darvish was the stuff of legends. He continues to own the Rangers, and that home run felt like something from the playoffs rather than a game in late May.
  • Marco Estrada was ridiculously good on Saturday, holding the Rangers to just four hits over six innings of work while collecting eight strikeouts. It brought back memories of his dominant starts in Texas in October 2015 and 2016. The Jays badly need to work out an extension with Estrada. Like a fine wine, he continues to get better with age.
  • Joe Biagini was also strong on Sunday, though he didn’t end up getting a win. That was on the offence, as Biagini ended up going six innings allowing just two runs. He’s certainly made a strong case for being a starter permanently.
  • Devon Travis has continued his hot streak, and now has hits in 12 games in a row. His OPS is up at .714 now, which is incredible considering how bad he was struggling at the plate in April.

Things that weren’t good

  • Kevin Pillar was on fire heading into the series, but struggled against the Rangers this weekend going 1-for-12 overall. Zeke Carrera has also cooled off with the stick, but you expect that from your fourth outfielder.
  • The Jays offence was weirdly bad on Sunday against a pitcher, Cashner, who isn’t all that good. It’s a little disappointing that they weren’t able to finish off the streak and push their win streak to six games, but it was still a successful weekend overall. There isn’t much to complain about after this series.

Up next…

The Jays will welcome good Canadian kid Joey Votto and the Cincinnati Reds to town for three games starting Monday. After that, they’ll play four at home against the Yankees before going on a west coast road trip to play Oakland and Seattle.