Somehow, Josh Donaldson under the radar as Blue Jays catalyst in sweep of Rangers
Donaldson hit zero of the Blue Jays' 10 series home runs, but was still the man
The Toronto Blue Jays swept the Texas Rangers in the ALDS, thanks mostly to 10 home runs in the three games. The 2015 AL MVP, Josh Donaldson, hit zero of those home runs and was still arguably the most important offensive part of the series. As such, it seemed pretty appropriate that he was the player sliding through home plate as the Blue Jays were advancing to the ALCS for the second successive season.
In the series, Donaldson hit a ridiculous .500/.526/.778 with five doubles, four runs and three RBI. With leadoff man Devon Travis getting injured in the midst of the series and Donaldson steadily holding down the two-hole, he was the catalyst for the offense pretty often.
That 10-1 bloodbath in Game 1? Donaldson was 4 for 4. He doubled in Ezequiel Carrera to get the scoring started in the third inning and then scored on a Jose Bautista single. Next inning, he singled to chase Rangers ace Cole Hamels from the game. Much like I did in the aftermath of the game (number seven), I still submit that his nine-pitch walk against Hamels in the first inning made a big difference in how things transpired.
Donaldson was huge again in Game 3 -- again, despite not taking part in the home run parade the Jays were presenting. In the third, with a 3-2 Jays lead, Donaldson doubled home a run. He would then score on an Edwin Encarnacion single.
Most importantly, Donaldson led off the 10th inning with a double. Given that Encarnacion, Jose Bautista and Russell Martin were coming up, it really felt like the double was the game-ender. Sure enough, he scored the series-winning run a few minutes later by hustling around third on a possible double-play ball to send the Blue Jays to the next round.
To reiterate, this felt pretty fitting. Much of the focus on the play will be on Rougned Odor's throw or Mitch Moreland not handling it. Donaldson's spin around third and slide into home are more an afterthought, much like his sick line for the series. It's quite the juxtaposition to where we usually are with Donaldson being the spotlighted Blue Jays player, but that's how weird the postseason can be. It turns things on its head.
Josh Donaldson was probably the best player in the series for the Blue Jays and he did so in under-the-radar fashion. Must be the playoffs.
CBS Sports HQ Daily Newsletter
Get the best highlights and stories - yeah, just the good stuff handpicked by our team to start your day.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox for the latest sports news.
There was an error processing your subscription.
Both skippers led surprising runs to the postseason
Several recent Manager of the Year winners are already out of a job
Minor league teams are as quirky as they come
Here's how you can keep tabs on the top 50 free agents on the market
See who's received hardware for the 2018 season
These names stand out as we survey the trade market at each position