AL MVP hopeful Josh Donaldson slides into second in the fourth inning and is quickly removed for infielder Cliff Pennington. The Jays would go on to lose 5-3.
By Bryan Pol
Down 2-0 to the Texas Rangers in Game 1 of the ALDS, the Toronto Blue Jays had runners on first and second and nobody out. Josh Donaldson, on first after drawing a walk, slid into second base on a ground ball to third, positioned squarely with his head up, so as to break up the double play chance.
Although Donaldson boldly hindered the double play, his head struck second baseman Roughned Odor’s knee, leaving Donaldson dazed just beyond the bag, with outfielder Ben Revere heading to third on the fielder’s choice.
Slightly bloodied and staggering to the dugout, manager John Gibbons opted to replace his star third baseman with Cliff Pennington, who appeared in 33 games in the regular season, eight of them at third base.
Pennington, a journeyman utility player, hit .160 this season, a far cry from the incredible numbers Donaldson boasted in 2015.
Alas, the Jays lost 5-3, thanks largely to a serviceable, economic start by Yovani Gallardo, who yielded only two runs in five innings of work. With a 1-0 lead in the ALDS, Texas dispatched Toronto’s biggest threat in ace David Price, with the Rangers able to start Cole Hamels in Game 2.
In response to the Blue Jays’ decision to remove Donaldson, Pete Rose, in the studio for MLB coverage on FS1, had much to say about Donaldson’s lack of heart.
— Big League Stew (@bigleaguestew) October 8, 2015
Rose, looking to be reinstated and ultimately be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, regularly played the game with tremendous heart, earning the moniker “Charlie Hustle.” Play of his ilk, he believes, is of a bygone era to which Donaldson clearly does not belong.
According to ESPN.com, Donaldson tentatively passed the concussion protocols, but will be reevaluated on Friday, and is likely day-to-day. Should the Jays endure a loss of Donaldson for extended time, a 0-2 deficit is very much in their future, a major downer considering Toronto fans have been waiting 22 long years for playoff baseball.