Toronto Blue Jays
By: Jason Green
The Blue Jays won a dramatic Wild Card Game with a walk-off winning HR and now they face the Rangers in the ALDS. The Rangers had the best record in the AL this season and they have home field advantage in this series. While Texas has a great lineup can they advance in the playoffs with a staff that has the 22nd ranked ERA? The Blue Jays were 4-3 facing the Rangers this season going 3-1 at home and 1-2 in the Lone Star State.
OK, so Texas does only rank 22nd in the Majors in team ERA, but they have a couple of top notch starters in Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish, who only gave up 1 earned run in his last 2 starts. The bullpen was pretty solid down the stretch, but Hamels did not have a good September and that is a concern. The Blue Jays rank 6th in team ERA and J.A. Happ and Aaron Sanchez are the big guns combining for 35 wins this season and each had an ERA of under 3.20.
The Blue Jays have a solid lineup that has 6 players with at least 20 HR and Josh Donaldson and Edwin Encarnacion connected for a combined 79 HR. The long ball is key for the Blue Jays, as they only ranked 23rd in the Majors this season in team batting average. If the Rangers can avoid giving up the big HR they will be in good shape.
The Rangers have an even more potent lineup ranking 6th in runs scored led by Elvis Andrus, Adrian Beltre, and Rougned Odor. Unlike the Blue Jays they do not rely on the long ball to win, as while their lineup has pop they rank 5th in team batting average.
The Rangers are at +500 to win the World Series, which is the 2nd best odds after the Cubs, and the Blue Jays are at +1200.
THUR. OCT. 6 Toronto at Texas
FRI. OCT. 7 Toronto at Texas
SUN. OCT. 9 Texas at Toronto
MON. OCT. 10 * Texas at Toronto
WED. OCT. 12 * Toronto at Texas
Prediction – The Blue Jays are riding high after their HUGE win in the AL Wild Card winning with a HR in the 11th inning. The Rangers had the better record and better home record in the season, but that will not matter. Toronto has the better pitching and they will steal one Game in Texas and take care of the series winning at home in 4 Games.