If you had told Dean Blundell that the Toronto bullpen would out-pitch the Baltimore bullpen in the AL Wild Card, he would have told you that you were crazy. But that’s exactly what happened in the Blue Jays’ 5-2 win Tuesday night, as Edwin Encarnacion hit a game-winning walk-off homer in the 11th inning to send Toronto to the ALDS.
Of course, it helped that Zach Britton, who was 47-of-47 in save opportunities this year, never entered the fray for Baltimore. He warmed up three times but never got the call, and in the end, Ubaldo Jimenez gave up the walk-off homer.
Blundell was surprised that Britton never got the nod.
“I think it surprised everybody,” The Fan radio host said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “It continued to surprise Buck Showalter after. I didn’t understand it and I don’t get it, but we’re thankful that he didn’t get into that game because we’ve seen just about enough of Zach Britton being in the American League East. He has just been so dominant all season long. If you’re Buck Showalter, are you not thinking to yourself, ‘Hey, I’m going to hold this guy back because we’re going to score on their bullpen before they’ll score on ours.’ So you understand the thinking, and going by numbers, he was probably right. But it’s baseball. It’s a crazy game, it didn’t work out for him and thankfully (the Blue Jays) are on to the next round.”
The Blue Jays will face the Rangers in the ALDS. Game 1 is Thursday at 4:30 p.m. ET.
The action on the field should be great, but here’s hoping the fans behave themselves. A Jays fan threw a beer can at Orioles left-fielder Hyun Soo Kim as he made a catch in the seventh inning Tuesday.
The can just missed Kim’s head.
“Well, first of all, I would say that is a tremendous waste of $17,” Blundell joked. “And second of all, I would say don’t wreck it for everybody. We’re good people up here. That was a heck of a baseball game. For that to be one of the takeaways for a wonderful moment for Toronto, a wonderful moment for Jays fans, (it’s unfortunate). We’re such a national team. We’re not a regional team like teams in the United States. All of Canada gets painted with this hooligan brush. But I’d tell him to maybe think twice about it. And again, those prices are egregious down there. We don’t want to be throwing away money.”
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that Jays fans have thrown items onto the field. In fact, several fans threw water bottles, cans, paper containers and rally towels onto the field in Game 5 of the ALDS last season, this after a reversed call didn’t go Toronto’s way.
“Well, I didn’t say we were smart people,” Blundell cracked. “No, I get it. It’s a bad look and it’s too bad because last year, same thing because of that seventh inning. It’s a terrible look. I hope they find the guy that did it, and I agree with Adam Jones. He said after the game I hope they prosecute the guy – and they should. For fans to interfere like that at a baseball game and to give us the look that we get as fans – this is a great fan base. It’s not represented by those people. It’s too bad it’s happened two years in a row. I don’t know what they do from here. I imagine if they find the guy and give him a stiff penalty, people are still going to throw stuff. I just hope they stop this year and I hope that something happens because it’s not representative of the fan base, that’s for sure.”