The Toronto Blue Jays blasted the Texas Rangers in Arlington to bring the series back to the Rogers Centre for a 5th game. Offense was the story for the Jays, as they showed glimpses of what they were doing during the regular season. A strong juggernaut type offense led them all the way here, and that is what propelled them to a game 5 against the Rangers. The party should be fun in Toronto today, but it’ll be even better if the Jays are able to advance. Neither team has won at home yet, so much for home field advantage. But the Blue Jays will have that opportunity today with the right of moving on to the ALCS. If the Rangers win then it means all of the road squads one in this series. That certainly doesn’t happen often, and the Jays certainly don’t want that to be the case. This could have been a done deal if the umps didn’t call such a horrid game in game 2. We can’t come to the conclusion that they would have won for sure, but it would have been an even playing field regardless. Enough about that game, because it’s all about now and game 5.
The Rangers are going to see today if their decision trading for Cole Hamels pays off. Bringing Hamels over was a smart move up to this point and we’ll get a good idea how much of a good idea it was after this one is done. Credit to the Rangers though, as they had no pitching at the start of the season, it looked like this season was pretty well toast. But they got healthier, made some smart moves, got hot at the right time, and look at them now a game away from going to the ALCS. The Jays bats were on fire last game and that’ll need to continue today against Hamels. The Blue Jays opt to go with the younger Stroman instead of ace David Price. Price doesn’t have the best history against the Rangers so it is a strategic move for the Jays. However, Price will be available in the bullpen. It all comes down to game 5, who will it be going to the ALCS the Jays or rangers?
Texas Rangers vs. Toronto Blue Jays
Cole Hamels (7-1, 3.57 ERA) vs. Marcus Stroman (4-0, 2.12 ERA)
For as many games are there are in a baseball season, they are rarely put under a microscope like a football game is. But in the postseason, notably a final and deciding game, every move is looked at so closely. Here Stroman and Hamels are going to be looked at closely, and I think if there is any slipup neither team won’t hesitant to pull the plug. While Price hasn’t looked great against the Rangers, I wouldn’t be surprised if he trots out of the bullpen later in the game. Hamels pitched a pretty decent game in his first appearance in this series against the Jays, allowing 2 earned runs. The Rangers went on to win that one in game 1 to get the series started.
Stroman has the edge lately, holding a 1.64 ERA in his last three starts. All he has allowed since coming back is 5 runs in four starts. He is the future of the Blue Jays rotation and for Stroman the future is now. Hamels doesn’t want to get shown up by a young guy in game 5 of an ALDS. His time is running up in the majors and I’m sure he wants to show he still has some juice left. The way I see it is that the Blue Jays caught fire last game and aren’t going to look back. When they are hot, they are hot. I said in my last writeup that the Rangers can’t afford to let that happen. Even if they lost, just don’t lose in a way that gets the Jays’ offense going, and that is what happened. There were several occasions during the regular season that they stringed multiple 5+ runs scored games in a row. It’s difficult to stop as a pitcher when they’re swinging the bats effectively. I don’t like laying big juice, but I expect the Jays to win this game so it’s easy as that.
PICK: BLUE JAYS TO WIN -174