For the second postseason in a row the Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers will meet in the best of five, American League Division Series.
After what was on of the most electrifying games of the 2016 season, the Blue Jays with a 5-2 win, earned the right to move from the wild card game, to face the Texas Rangers in the American League Division Series. This will mark consecutive seasons these two teams have faced each other in the division series. If last season’s division series and season series’ can be used as barometers, this year’s version should have plenty of excitement in store.
Despite being in different divisions, Toronto and Texas are familiar with each other having met 7 times this season. The Blue Jays came out on top with a 4-3 season record, outscoring the Orioles 36-21, in the process. Five of the seven games were one-run games, with the Rangers winning four of those.
Toronto won 3 of 4 games at the Rogers Centre, outscoring Texas 20-8 in those games. Texas would win 2 of the 3 games at Globe Life Park, but were outscored in the series 16-13.
Thanks to their 95-67 regular season record the series will begin in Arlington where the Rangers have a remarkable 53-28 record. Toronto carries a 43-38 road record into the series. The series will return to Toronto for the third game, at least, where the Blue Jays have a 47-34 record. Texas will bring a 42-39 road record with them.
Toronto’s and Texas’ respective offenses were remarkably similar this season, with only 6 runs scored separating the two teams after 162 games. With the noticeable difference being the home and road splits for both teams, which could be something to watch throughout the series.
Toronto – R/G 4.70 – .248/.330/.426 – 515 XBH – 8.4 K/G
Texas – R/G 4.72 – .262/.322/.433 – 495 XBH – 7.5 K/G
The Blue Jays have hit .236/.318/.418, scoring 4.42 R/G on the road, while slashing .260/.341/.444 and 4.95 R/G at the Rogers Centre this season.
The Rangers have hit .279/.344/.453, scoring 5.2 R/G at Globe Life Park, while slashing .245/.299/.414 and 4.20 R/G on the road.
TOR – (Relievers) 4.11 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 3.47 SO/W, .254/.314/.420
TEX – (Relievers) 4.40 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 2.23 SO/W, .261/.329/.418
First Pitch – 4:30 EST
M. Estrada RHP (2016: 9-9, 3.48 ERA) vs. C. Hamels LHP (2016: 15-5, 3.32 ERA)
Toronto will hand the ball to right-hander Marco Estrada to open the ALDS on Thursday. Estrada, after a rough patch, turned in a handful of high quality starts in September to bring his record to (9-9, 3.48 ERA, 1.119 WHIP, 8.4 K/9) on the season. He has a (1-1, 2.63 ERA, 0.958 WHIP, 6.0 K/9) career record when facing the Rangers, including (0-0, 3.75 ERA, 1.000 WHIP, 6.0 K/9) over 2 starts this season.
Estrada has pitched to a (6-2, 3.39 ERA, 1.027 WHIP, 7.9 K/9) on the road in 2016, with a 6IP, 4 ER, no-decision at Globe Life Park back in May. The California native has a career postseason record of (2-1, 3.20 ERA, 0.947 WHIP, 8.5 K/9), which includes his memorable 6.1 IP, 5H, ER performance against the Rangers during last season’s ALDS.
The Rangers will counter with veteran lefty Cole Hamels for their game 1 starter. Hamels in his first season with the Rangers amassed a (15-5, 3.32 ERA, 1.306 WHIP, 9.0 K/9) record.
He has faced Toronto a total of 4 times in his career with a record of (0-2, 6.97 ERA, 1.935 WHIP, 8.3 K/9). He did not face them this season despite the 7 meetings between the teams. Hamels has a (5-2, 4.40 ERA, 1.467 WHIP, 9.2 K/9) at home this season.
The San Diego native has a stellar postseason record of (7-5, 3.03 ERA, 1.032 WHIP, 8.6 K/9) with includes him going (0-1, 2.70 ERA, 0.900 WHIP, 9.5 K/9) over 2 starts against Toronto during 2015’s division series.
First Pitch – 1:00 EST
J. Happ LHP (2016: 20-4, 3.18 ERA) vs. Y. Darvish RHP (2016: 7-5, 3.41 ERA)
Blue Jays’ lefty starter and 20 game winner, J.A. Happ, will take the ball on Friday for game 2. Happ has himself a career year while compiling a (20-4, 3.18 ERA, 1.169 WHIP, 7.5 K/9) record this season.
Over his career he has a (3-2, 3.07 ERA, 1.125 WHIP, 8.6 K/9) record against the Rangers, which includes a 7IP, ER effort in a victory this season.
Happ is (9-2, 3.43 ERA, 1.171 WHIP, 6.7 K/9) on the road this season.
The Illinois native has a postseason record of (0-0, 4.82 ERA, 2.143 WHIP, 9.6 K/9) over his career, but has not seen October baseball since 2009 with the Phillies.
Texas will counter with their star right-hander Yu Darvish. Darvish who came back this year from missing last season with ucl replacement surgery, put together a (7-5, 3.41 ERA, 1.116 WHIP, 11.8 K/9) record in 2016.
He has a career record of (3-2, 2.45 ERA, 1.049 WHIP, 11.5 K/9) when facing Toronto, and did not face them this season.
The former NPB league star has a (6-2, 4.26 ERA, 1.228 WHIP, 11.4 K/9) home record in 2016.
Darvish’s postseason experience came back in 2012, where he put together a (0-1, 2.70 ERA, 0.750 WHIP, 9.5 K/9) record.
NOTE: With the game 3 starter for the Texas Rangers not being announced to date, the preview will be updated as the series proceeds. Please keep an eye out for our updates before Game 3, to see who will face Aaron Sanchez, as well as Game 4 (if required).
*All Pitcher vs Batter Stats provided by ESPN
**Featured Image Credit: Ryan Posner (Twitter) – UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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Wade is a long time baseball fan who has been involved with the game for over 30 years. Including as a former college player, amateur pitching coach, and blogger.