The Toronto Blue Jays weren’t welcomed to the playoffs too kindly by the Texas Rangers yesterday. Instead of starting out with a bang amidst a party like atmosphere in downtown Toronto yesterday, the Rangers let anybody know that they aren’t the only team in this series. David Price was unable to put together an ace like performances in game of the ALDS, and the Rangers defeated the Blue Jays by a score of 5-3. Price didn’t pitch that bad contrary to what I have seen in the media. But he did give up home runs at the wrong time. There is never a good time to give home runs of course, but the game was close before the Rangers got a hold of Price. Yovani Gallardo was stout for the Rangers on the hump, leading them to stealing one in Toronto. With one win under their belt, the Rangers are looking to take a stranglehold in the series with a tin Friday afternoon. A win would give the Rangers a 2-0 series lead and it would be tough on the Jays moving forward. You never really know what you’re going to get with R.A. Dickey so I see this as a huge game for the Jays. It isn’t a must win, but it is pretty close.
The Blue Jays will go with Marcus Stroman on the hump this afternoon, which is an early start time of 12:30 EST. The Blue Jays have had offense and that is what has been the primary focus of them this season. David Price has also been in the forefront of the Blue Jays successful run in 2015. Although he didn’t get the win yesterday, the Jays are here in due part because of him. But there have been other players in the mix as well. Notably, Marcus Stroman has etched himself out as the X-factor on the Jays squad. Stroman has been one of the more underrated players not just on the Jays but in the league as a whole. He will have to get the Blue Jays back on track today, or they could be in trouble. We’ll see if they can make it happen in game 2 of the ALDS at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.
Texas Rangers vs. Toronto Blue Jays
Cole Hamels (7-1, 3.66 ERA) vs. Marcus Stroman (4-0, 1.67)
Cole Hamels was the Rangers big time acquisition and while he hasn’t been as potent as Price has been for the Jays, it was the kind of grab that gave the Rangers a spot in the postseason. Hamels cannot do it on his own, but has certainly given the Rangers a big boost. By all accounts third baseman Adrian Beltre will be out after injuring his back yesterday following a base hit. In the Blue Jays corner, their third baseman, Josh Donaldson, looks to be out today as well with a concussion. I think the loss of Beltre and Donaldson is a wash, I don’t see either team gaining an advantage by both being absent.
If you guessed that Stroman has an ERA under 2.00 I give you a lot of credit. Jays fans’ know what he brings to the table, but the rest of the world doesn’t know much about Stroman. Take notes because he has been better than good. Yes, Stroman has been absent for the majority of the season so the 1.67 ERA isn’t as impressive if he pitched a full season, but there may be an underlying benefit to this. Stroman’s arm isn’t fatigued, we can say that much. He got hit for 3 runs in his first game back, but since then he has pitched a 0.82 ERA and 0.91 WHIP. I see the Jays tying this series back up behind Stroman. Biggest game of the year for the Blue Jays today in game 2 of the ALDS.
PICK: BLUE JAYS TO WIN -180