Rangers let pressure get to them, expert says of Blue Jays historic ALDS win

Oct 15, 2015 | Sports

Javon Walker

Now that they’ve beaten the Texas Rangers, the Toronto Blue Jays will look to carry their positive momentum into the American League Championship Series – and a sports psychologist told Humber News the team will have to avoid being too “pumped up” which can hurt their performance.

“Prior to these high-pressure situations the players need to get pumped up and get that adrenaline going,” Paul Dennis told Humber News on Thursday. “But if the player gets too pumped then it can hurt his performance.”

Dennis, a high performance coach at York University who has spent over 20 years working with professional athletes, said this is what happened to the Jays in their first two games at home.

“In games one and two they were too excited, and even David Price said ‘I was too nervous’, and that’s the impact the fans could have,” he said.

“Players don’t want to disappoint them,” he said.

The Jays completed their historic comeback Wednesday after crawling back from the brink of elimination in front of a sold out crowd at the Rogers Centre.

‘Easier to play on the road’

The three errors committed by Mitch Moreland and Elvis Andrus in the 7th inning that led to the Jays win wasn’t because of lack of skill, said Dennis.

With games three and four being on the road, Dennis said the Jays managed to calm themselves in hostile territory in Texas, but almost fell into the same trap again in game five.

“In many do-or-die, high pressure situations, sometimes it’s easier to play on the road because the players don’t have to worry about fans,” said Dennis. “And [Texas] was playing as though they were going to win the game, and once Andrus made that first error then it just steamrolled from there.”

Making errors distracts players from what’s happening, something the Jays thrives on, he said.

“We’re the type of team that capitalizes on errors, and that’s what they did.”

The Jays play game one against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City on Friday.