In our preview of the Game 1 matchup, we highlighted Hamels’ weak finish to the 2016 regular season and his lack of command that plagued his last several starts. It’s safe to say that he wasn’t able to correct the issue prior to his start Thursday afternoon, and the Rangers were pummeled in a 10-1 rout.
It was a tough game to watch, as Hamels struggled hitting his targets repeatedly. He walked 3 in only 3.1 innings of work, allowing 6 hits and 7 runs, a combination that equates to a 16.20 ERA. Things could have faired a little better for Hamels if Adrian Beltre could’ve snagged a third inning rocket by Josh Donaldson that glanced off the tip of his glove, or if Ian Desmond could’ve caught up to the deep fly ball by Tulowitzki that dropped in with the bases loaded. But regardless if they had, Hamels simply wasn’t himself on Thursday afternoon and hasn’t looked like himself for over a month. Jeff Banister may ultimately regret not starting Yu Darvish in game 1 so he would have the possibility of starting Game 5 (if even necessary). Maybe Hamels will have a shot at redeeming himself if the series extends to 5 games, albeit on a very short leash if he does.
On the other side of the plate, things weren’t any better. Also in our game 1 preview, we discussed how the Blue Jays’ Marco Estrada was a momentum pitcher, and how he could get hot or cold depending on how the Rangers swung the bats early on. As it turns out, our scouting was accurate. The Rangers couldn’t get anything going, and finished with only 4 hits. Estrada fed off that momentum and had a shutout going into the 9th inning before Andrus tripled to Center Field and ultimately scored. Estrada looked very impressive, finishing with a 1.08 ERA and only 4 hits allowed.
The Rangers will look to redeem themselves when Yu Darvish takes the mound at 12:00pm on Friday. Darvish will be ready for the spotlight – Hopefully the bats will be ready too, or this could be a very forgettable series for Ranger fans.