Another strange abrupt ending for Rangers after best record
ABS-CBN Sports on Oct 11, 2016 11:18 AM
Texas Rangers' Jonathan Lucroy walks back to the dugout after striking out to end the bottom of the seventh inning stranding two runners on base in Game 2 of baseball's American League Division Series against the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday, Oct. 7, 2016, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
STEPHEN HAWKINS, AP Sports Writer
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Just like that, with another strange ending in Toronto, the season ended for the Texas Rangers.
So much for having the American League's best record, their aces lined up for the postseason and the three big additions to the lineup in August.
For the second year in a row, the AL West champs are done after a best-of-five AL Division Series against Toronto. This time, they got swept.
"We expected to go a little bit farther than this," said third baseman Adrian Beltre, now up to 19 seasons without a World Series title. "We had a really good team to do it, a lot of great guys that were committed to win. ... We got cold at the worst moment."
Second baseman Rougned Odor short-hopped the relay trying to complete an inning-ending double play in the 10th late Sunday night, and Josh Donaldson scored from second base on the throwing error.
In the 2015 ALDS, Texas lost the series-deciding fifth game in Toronto after three consecutive errors in the seventh inning set up Jose Bautista's tiebreaking three-run homer.
After an MLB-best 49 come-from-behind wins among their 95 victories in the regular season, the Rangers didn't have another comeback in 2016. They had been 36-11 in one-run games, a modern era-record .766 winning percentage.
"I believe in this core group of guys. Look, look at the numbers and how we played all year long, the comeback wins, the one-run wins," second-year manager Jeff Banister said. "That's not luck. ... It's a case that they continue to play. They're very talented. We're not perfect. No team is perfect."
The Rangers got Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish for just such moments, but the aces allowed 12 runs in 8 1/3 innings in losing the first two games at home.
All-Star center fielder Ian Desmond will be a free agent after hitting .285 overall with 22 homers. But he struggled after the break, hitting .237 with seven homers the last 67 games.
Blue Jays fans certainly relished that the game-deciding error by Odor, who punched Bautista on May 15 to ignite a bench-clearing brawl. A banner in Toronto read, "Would Rather Get Punched in May Than Get Knocked Out in October." Odor was trying to turn a double play like the Rangers did so often this season (MLB-leading 190, one short of a team record). The 22-year-old second baseman did hit .271 with 33 homers.
Elvis Andrus, Mitch Moreland , Game 3 starter Colby Lewis and Derek Holland, the oft-injured left-hander left off ALDS roster, are the only Rangers remaining from their first World Series in 2010. While Andrus is signed through 2022, Moreland and Lewis are headed for free agency. The Rangers could elect to pay a $1.5 buyout instead of exercising their $11 million option for Holland, but he could return.