The Toronto Blue Jays have had an epic online betting season in 2015, storming past the New York Yankees to take the American League East crown and enter the postseason for the first time since 1993. However, as they wound down the regular season, they made some unusual decisions. They gave the regulars the second game of a doubleheader off after they clinched the division in the first – which made sense.
AL Playoff Online Betting Team Preview: Toronto Blue Jays
— Brendan Kennedy (@BKennedyStar) October 7, 2015
Then, they gave the regulars the day off the next day, too. This right before a break that would last no fewer than three days for the whole team as the wild card games sort themselves out. Then, they scratch David Price from his last start so that he can open the American League Division Series with 11 days rest – which seems like a really long time. This cost the Blue Jays the best league record, which meant that they would face the Texas Rangers instead of the winner of the wild card series. Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News theorized that the Blue Jays were trying to face the Rangers instead of the wild card winner, but it’s hard to put a week of decisions down to that, especially since the Rangers didn’t lock down a division title until Game 162.
On Sunday, the Blue Jays started Mark Buehrle – on one day’s rest. The idea was to get him over 200 innings for the 15th straight season. But he didn’t even make it out of the first, getting shelled for eight runs in 2/3 of an inning. The Blue Jays did make a couple of errors behind him, but it still looked like spring training. So Buehrle’s last career start was probably one of his worst.
How will the Blue Jays fare now? It will be interesting to see if they can shift back into focus and play intense October ball. It’s been a long time since playoff baseball came to Canada. The last time, of course, Joe Carter smashed a Mitch Williams fastball into the night, giving the Blue Jays a world championship over the Philadelphia Phillies. This time, there is the gifted Josh Donaldson there to play a solid third base and hit the ball with power. Troy Tulowitzki came in from Colorado to add offense and shore up the defense at shortstop. Price came in as a bona fide ace from Detroit. The Blue Jays went 4-2 against the Rangers this season, and the Rangers have historically struggled in Toronto, whether it was in the old Exhibition Stadium or the SkyDome-turned-Rogers Centre. So you have to view the Blue Jays as a slight favorite.
But..if the Rangers can shell David Price, as they did in postseason games when he was in Tampa Bay…if Yovani Gallardo can get the Rangers through five or six innings with a lead, no matter how slim, and then Hamels can come on and chill the Blue Jays’ attack in Game 2, things could get ugly in a hurry. That’s how baseball goes.