The Toronto Blue Jays fended off elimination last night by getting a 5-1 victory over the Texas Rangers. If they lost that would have been it, and the Rangers would have been advancing to the next round. The Rangers will have another chance to knock the Jays off today and send them back to Toronto with their heads hanging low. Troy Tulowitzki hit his first dinger of the postseason, a crucial one at that, which gave the Blue Jays a 5-0 lead in the game. That could be a turning point in this series, and maybe even the entire postseason if the Jays move on to the next round and continue to play good baseball. And I think it might have shot some life into the Blue Jays, instilling some confidence in them that a comeback could be a reality. R.A. Dickey will get the start for the Jays today, which I know has fans on pins and needles. Dickey can be so good, but then he can be so bad too. Which Dickey are we going to see today? Well it’s his first ever postseason appearance at 40 years old, so it would be a nice coming out party for him in October. Expect to see some familiar faces pitching the baseball behind Dickey, including Stroman and perhaps Price if they need him.
The Rangers will lean on Derek Holland who will need to step in and perform against the Jays today. He can only hope the Blue Jays didn’t catch fire yesterday, because when they do, they’re nearly impossible to slow down. If they do get hot here, good luck on the Rangers stopping them in Toronto. The Rangers chance to win is now. They can’t let this series get back to Toronto where David Price will presumably get another shot at them. Holland is battletested in the postseason, but that is about all I see going in his favor in this game. He has had trouble lately and I don’t think this a spot the Rangers wanted to see Holland in. The depth in the rotation has always been the knock on the Rangers and it might come back to get them today. Inconsistency plagues both teams on the hump today in game 4 of this game of the ALDS.
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Texas Rangers
R.A Dickey (11-11, 3.91 ERA) vs. Derek Holland (4-3, 4.91)
Derek Holland has been pitching on a shortened season this year, as it took him awhile to come back from injury. If you recall, the Rangers rotation was an absolute mess to start the season. The rotation still isn’t the best it could be, but they are holding in there. They added Cole Hamels, which was a must. Remember, the Rangers are without their star ace, Yu Darvish, who got injured all the way back during spring training. Then it looked like the season was going to go in the toilet for the Rangers, but they’ve obviously managed. Holland hasn’t pitched a full season since 2013. He had only 5 starts a year ago, and this season 10. I don’t know if he’s played hurt or what, but he hasn’t been good at all of late. In his last five starts he has given up 24 runs. He has a 8.04 ERA with a 1.72 WHIP and .408 OBA his last three starts.
I said last night that the pitchers don’t like pitchers that have movement on their pitches. Holland likes to throw plenty of fastballs and the Jays love to hit guys like that. Holland has a 5.15 ERA and 1.40 WHIP against Toronto. With that said though, Dickey is such a loose cannon who makes it difficult to back. Is it going to be good or bad Dickey on Monday? In any case, I think he will allow enough to contribute to a game that goes OVER the total. I do think Holland gets beat up by the Jays, but Dickey is hittable. I’d take a look at the OVER for this matchup.
PICK: OVER 9.5 RUNS (-110)