It had to happen this way, of course. In Toronto, in a pivotal A.L. Division Series matchup and – in the end – in the most heartbreaking fashion possible.
For the second straight year, the Rangers’ playoff run came to an abrupt halt at Rogers Centre against the Blue Jays. The Texas infield botched a potential inning-ending double play in the bottom of the tenth Sunday, allowing Josh Donaldson to score from second base with the game-winning run.
The 7-6 victory gave Toronto a clean sweep after the club had taken Games 1 and 2 at Globe Life Park, knocking Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish around early and often while knocking the Rangers to the ground with a quick 2-0 series lead.
Hamels was rocked for seven runs (six earned) in three-plus innings of work Thursday afternoon as the Blue Jays cruised to a 10-1 rout, and Darvish permitted a career-worst four homers in a 5-3 defeat on Friday.
For Toronto in the series, Donaldson batted .538 with four doubles, Edwin Encarnacion posted a .917 slugging percentage and Troy Tulowitzki led the team with five runs batted in.
Polarizing Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista was held to just 2-for-12 (.167) at the plate, although one of his hits was a ninth-inning long ball off Jake Diekman in Game 1.
It’s all too much to write about right now. Maybe someday, but not yet.
Lucroy’s Option picked up
On Tuesday, the Rangers picked up the team option on Jonathan Lucroy’s contract for next year, giving them a clear-cut No. 1 catcher before the winter shopping season officially begins.
Lucroy, 30, split the 2016 campaign between Milwaukee and Texas, for whom he batted .276 over the final two months of the season while collecting 11 homers and 31 RBIs.
Although Lucroy is under contract for 2017 (at a bargain price of $5.5 million, no less), potential free agents Carlos Beltran, Ian Desmond, Derek Holland and Mitch Moreland may have already played their last games in a Rangers uniform.
Coaching Staff Stays Intact for 2017
All members of Jeff Banister’s coaching staff – including third-base coach Tony Beasley, who was limited to dugout duties this year while undergoing cancer treatment – are expected to return next season.
Interim coach Spike Owen filled in for Beasley on the third-base line this season. Owen had been tabbed to manage the Class-A Hickory Crawdads before the big-league opportunity arose.
Others on Banister’s staff include pitching coach Doug Brocail, hitting coach Anthony Iapoce, bench coach Steve Buechele, bullpen coach Brad Holman, assistant hitting coach Justin Mashore and first-base coach Hector Ortiz.
And in a kind farewell gesture, the Rangers presented former player, coach, minor-league manager and replay coordinator Bobby Jones with a red 1965 Ford Mustang convertible prior to the ALDS against Toronto.
The 67-year-old Jones is retiring after logging 50 seasons of service in professional baseball, 29 of which were spent with the Washington Senators / Texas Rangers franchise.