Now that the one-game Wild Card rounds are over, the "real" playoffs begin. Today we start with the Texas Rangers visiting the Toronto Blue Jays, who are making their first playoff appearances since 1993.
The Rangers come into the series fighting for their playoff lives up until the last game of the season when they officially clinched the American League West with a 9-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels. Conversely, the Blue Jays punched their playoff ticket on September 26 and finished with the second-best record in the AL at 93-69.
Toronto also finished with an absurd +221 run differential, with the next best team being the St. Louis Cardinals at +122. In order to continue their magical season, they will need their biggest pieces acquired from the trade deadline to come through over the next three-to-five games. One of those pieces, David Price, is getting the start on the mound tonight while star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki will be over his right shoulder on defense and ready to bring his struggling bat on offense.
The Rangers powerful offense lead by Shin-Soo Choo, Prince Fielder, and Adrian Beltre will be tasked with getting to Price at home in the Rogers Centre.
- Game 1, Today 3:30 PM: Gallardo (TEX) @ Price (TOR)
- Game 2, Friday 12:30 PM: Hamels (TEX) @ Stroman (TOR)
- Game 3, Saturday, 8:00 PM: Estrada (TOR) @ TBD (TEX)
- Game 4, Monday, TBD if needed
- Game 5, Wednesday, TBD if needed
- Shin-Shoo Coo spent six-and-a-half seasons with the Indians until he was traded prior to the 2013 season in a three-team trade that brought Trevor Bauer to the Tribe. Choo had a great first season away from the Tribe in 2013 but struggled heavily in 2014, his first season with the Rangers. This season, however, he looks like his younger self again, worth 3.5 fWAR in 149 games as the Rangers #2 hitter.
- He probably will not see much action in this series, but Rangers backup catcher Chris Jiminez began his MLB career on the Indians. In two years with the Tribe, he was worth -0.8 fWAR and never had an OBP over .290.
- Drew Stubbs, who played for the Indians in 2013, s is still pretty awful. He had a .095/.269/.143 slash line in 27 games with the Rangers this season.