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Today in Blue Jays History: Jays win ALDS Game 4

League Championship - Toronto Blue Jays v Kansas City Royals - Game Six Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Four Years Ago Today

The Blue Jays won game 4 of the ALDS over the Rangers.

The Jays had lost the first two game of the series and faced an uphill battle. We won this one pretty easily, 8-4, scoring early and often.

From the recap:

It started off perfect. Ben Revere put down a great bunt single and Josh Donaldson followed with a home run. Then a Colabello home run put us up 3-0, before the Rangers had their first at bat.

Second inning: Kevin Pillar hits a solo homer.

Third inning: Donaldson walk, Jose Bautista double followed by a Edwin Encarnacion ground out (Bautista tried to go second to third but Elvis Andrus decoyed him and got him at third), scoring Josh. Colabello doubled bringing home another. A Russell Martin walk and a Pillar single and we were up 7-1.

One more run in the seventh got us to 8.

There was a bit of controversy, R.A. Dickey started and went 4.2 innings allowing 5 hits, no walks, 3 strikeouts and just one earned run. He hadn’t run up his pitch count. He was sitting at 78 pitches. But Gibby pulled him one out before he could have had a playoff win on his record.

Gibby brought in David Price. Why? Well, Price hadn’t pitched well in the playoffs in his career. In game one Price allowed 5 runs in 7 innings. I don’t understand making decisions based on small sample sizes like that, Price, coming over at the deadline went 9-1 with a 2.30 ERA.

But with just game 5 left in the series, presuming the Jays would go on to win this one, Gibby had decided that Marcus Stroman would make the final start. And I guess Gibby wanted to get ahead of any potential controversy over that choice.

Personally I would have liked to have Price in the pen for game 5, just in case Marcus didn’t have it that day. And I would have liked to let Dickey get the win he earned. I didn’t understand why we’d want to use up a pitcher when Dickey could have gone 6-7 innings and kept us with a rested pen for game 5.

Gibby’s stated reasoning:

Anyway, 2 outs, in the 5th inning, with a runner on first, there was a 95% chance of a win. It’s the definition of a low leverage spot. Shin-Soo Choo, a lefty was up, and Gibby did say something about Choo hitting Dickey well. A quick look at Baseball Reference, yeah he has 5 singles and a double, plus 3 walks in 16 PA. So, he sort of hits Dickey well, but 16 PA is a very small sample and I wish Gibby wouldn’t use small samples as an excuse to make a pitching move.

A better reason for the move is that Choo hits right-handers well. RA isn’t your normal right-hander, but that reasoning would, at least, be reasonable.

I wrote more about it:

The reasons to bring in Price yesterday:

The main one is that he warmed up. Once he warmed up, he really had to get into the game. As much as that’s circular thinking, I got him up to warm, well once he’s warm he has to go in the game. As manager, Gibby controls whether he warms up or not.

Maybe, to shut down controversy. If Price didn’t pitch then, if you pick Stroman to start Wednesday’s game, you are picking him over a Cy Young candidate. That seems wrong somehow. So, you pitch Price in the game before and no more controversy. I think it is a silly reason. If you picked Stroman, have the courage of your convictions and don’t listen to me when I say ‘the guy that you traded for to pitch in games like this has to get the start’.

Because the Astros lost, after having a big lead, earlier in the day. I saw this on Twitter a hundred times. That’s working way too hard to justify the move. First, I don’t think the Astros lost because they didn’t pull their starter in the 5th inning with a 6 run lead. Second, I have confidence in RA. I really didn’t think Price going in made it more or less likely that we would win.

But Grant Brisbee put it better:

An appeal to authority is all we have. Because if this isn’t a carefully measured decision, something beyond the idea that Price is weak in the postseason, something that isn’t an overreaction to a bad start, it has a chance to be remembered in 30 years. It has a chance to be one of the great what-were-you-thinking baseball decisions of our time.

As it turned out, Marcus had a good game in game 5. 6 innings, 2 runs allowed (3 earned) leaving with us down a run. He left with the game tied at 2.

And the the 7th inning was wild (but that’s a story for another day).