The Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers return to the diamond for Game 2 of their ALDS. The Blue Jays sent a message to the Rangers yesterday, with a convincing 10-1 win. Jose Bautista hit a deep shot that left the park for a massive explanation point. It was dagger into the backs of the Rangers and every Rangers’ fan in attendance. How do you quiet boos? Drill a 425 long ball in front of everybody to add insult to injury. The Rangers can get to work right away and turn things around Friday afternoon. It’s probably best they don’t have much time to dwell on last night. Cole Hamels was all out of whack and Marco Estrada pitched a gem. The Blue Jays didn’t need it from Estrada, but it was a welcoming sign from a guy looking to build from the immense success he had in the regular season.
It was 10-0 before the Rangers spoiled the shutout in the bottom of the 9th inning. Estrada pitched 8.1 innings and surrendered just 4 hits and 1 run, which came when the game was well out or reach. J.A. Happ is the next in line in the Toronto rotation, who is another pitcher, who is coming off a phenomenal season. Underrated is the right word for Estrada and Happ. If you aren’t a Jays’ fan or a hardcore baseball fan, chances are you’ve never really heard of how well Estrada and Happ have done this season. Toronto brought Happ back to the city after a stint with the team two years ago.
They signed him on the cheap and made out well on their investment. The Rangers will counter with Yu Darvish, who has had a good, yet not an excellent 2016. Since returning on May 28th, Darvish has been pretty strong for the most part. He has a couple poor starts, but has otherwise been pitching at a high level. The Rangers really need him to come up big this afternoon, if not, they face a 0-2 hole heading to Toronto. Note the early start time of 1:00 EST in this one.
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Texas Rangers
J.A. Happ (20-4, 3.18 ERA) vs Yu Darvish (7-5, 3.41 ERA)
Happ just didn’t have good numbers this season, but he was among the best in the major leagues. Along with Porcello, Happ was part of a group who had career years in the later part of their career. His 20-4 record is two short of Porcello, who finished with a record of 22-4. Happ hopes to do what Porcello couldn’t yesterday, though. He hasn’t allowed more than 2 runs since September 4th. Further, in his last three starts he posted an ERA of 2.41. Happ has defied all logic with the way he has pitched the baseball this season, and we all know, they certainly needed another guy in the rotation to step up and be a productive member.
Darvish’s numbers would look much better if it weren’t for a couple of starts. He didn’t have the benefit of pitching a complete season, so two bad starts will drag the ERA down a bit more. Darvish allowed 5 and 7 runs in two separate starts. Other than that, Darvish has been a rock. In his last two starts all he gave up was 1 run and 5 hits. I think the Rangers are going to put it together today and look like an actual team. The way I see it, the Blue Jays are going to win this series. But this looks like a nice opportunity for the Rangers to grab a game with Darvish on the mound. I expect him to show up and have a productive afternoon.
PICK: RANGERS TO WIN -124