TEXAS RANGERS (90-76) at TORONTO BLUE JAYS (95-71)
The Blue Jays will be looking to complete an incredible comeback when they face the Rangers in Game 5 on Wednesday.
The Rangers took a 2-0 lead in this series after defeating the Blue Jays in the two games the teams played in Toronto. The Jays, however, have thrived with their backs against the wall and have evened this thing up at two wins apiece. Texas, however, may need the change of scenery, as the team looked way more comfortable at Rogers Centre in Games 1 and 2.
The Rangers are turning to LHP Cole Hamels (13-8, 3.61 ERA, 221 K) in this game and he’ll be going up against RHP Marcus Stroman (4-0, 2.12 ERA, 23 K) for the Blue Jays. Toronto opted to bring David Price in as a reliever in Game 4 and that is why he is not available for this pivotal Game 5 showdown. Even with the two straight losses for the Rangers in this series, Texas is 25-13 against the money line when facing an AL East opponent on the year. Toronto, however, is 26-8 against the money line as a home favorite of -150 to -200 this season. Both of these teams will be entering this win or go home contest with their lineups at close to full strength.
The Rangers have let two opportunities to win this series slip away and will now send their prized trade deadline acquisition to the mound to try once again to close this thing out. Hamels has been known for his ability to perform in the playoffs, but he was shaky in his Game 2 appearance for Texas. He pitched seven innings in that game and gave up four runs, but only two were earned. He’ll need to do a better job of avoiding trouble this time around.
3B Adrian Beltre (.287, 18 HR, 83 RBI) went 2-for-4 in his return to the Rangers last game. Texas will need him to have a big game on Wednesday if the team is going to advance. OF Shin-Soo Choo (.276, 22 HR, 82 RBI) will also need to keep hitting for the Rangers. Choo was excellent in Game 4, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored. It was his first multi-hit game of the series and Texas will need him to get on base constantly in this one.
The Blue Jays have battled their way back into this series and now Marcus Stroman will try to get them to the next round. Stroman has pitched extremely well this season, allowing three or less earned runs in all five of his starts. He pitched seven innings of three-run baseball earlier in this series and the Jays will need him to be on his game on Wednesday. Offensively, 3B Josh Donaldson (.297, 41 HR, 123 RBI) will need to stay hot for this Jays team. He has homered in two of the past three games and is 4-for-13 in those contests. Toronto can also use some production out of SS Troy Tulowitzki (.280, 17 HR, 70 RBI). Tulowitzki had a big game in Game 3, but he is hitless in the other three contests this series.