The Toronto Blue Jays hit the road for the first time this season, opening up a three-game set in Arlington against
their old friends human garbage, the Texas Rangers.
|Friday – 8:05||RH Marco Estrada (0-0, 3.86)||LH Matt Moore (0-1, 9.00)|
|Saturday – 8:05||RH Marcus Stroman (0-0, 7.20)||LH Mike Minor (0-1, 3.86)|
|Sunday – 3:05||LH Jaime Garcia (0-0, 1.50)||LH Cole Hamels (1-1, 3.38)|
Hands up if you had Jaime Garcia having the best ERA one turn through the rotation … One by-product of the Blue Jays’ late-game success is just one pitcher win (admittedly an over-rated stat) through their first seven games, belonging to J.A. Happ, who won’t pitch in this series … would you have guessed that Cole Hamels is 0-4 lifetime against Toronto, including the postseason? His regular season ERA against the club sits at 6.97 through four starts … In a limited sample, the Blue Jays are slashing .267/.353/.378 against left-handed pitching, which will be an important stat to keep an eye on with three southpaws on the other side this weekend.
Who’s Hot / Who’s Not
|HOT||1B Justin Smoak: .467 OBP, 2 HR, 5 doubles, 9 RBI this season|
|HOT||SS Aledmys Diaz: .813 SLG, 2 HR, 4 RBI this season|
|HOT||3B Josh Donaldson: 4-11 (.364), 2 HR, 4 RBI in last 3 GP|
|NOT||2B Devon Travis: 1-20 (.050), 9 K this season|
|NOT||RF Randall Grichuk: 2-23 (.087), 9 K this season|
After a sleepy start mired by his defensive and arm issues, Josh Donaldson returned with a bang in the White Sox series … Aledmys Diaz had hits in four straight plate appearances over Monday & Tuesday night, three for extra bases (2 HR, 1 double) before being pulled with back spasms. The expectation is he’ll return on Friday night … Curtis Granderson has carried his spring success into April, slashing .350/.409/.550, but with three lefty starters for Texas, he may see his appearances limited to late in the game this weekend. However, he has reached base in two of four plate appearances against lefties this year … Devon Travis and Randall Grichuk are really the only two players yet to get going offensively. Grichuk’s timing appears to be just off, and his effort to be more disciplined at the plate might be costing him some of the aggressiveness that makes him a good power hitter … After struggling mightily in this department last year, the Jays are hitting .302 in 59 plate appearances with runners in scoring position, and .323 with RISP & 2 outs … Here’s an oddity: John Gibbons has yet to use the same batting order twice in the first seven games.
|HOT||OF Nomar Mazara: 10-28 (.357), .919 OPS|
|HOT||SS Elvis Andrus: 10-30 (.333), .927 OPS|
|HOT||OF Shin-Soo Choo: 8-27 (.296), .922 OPS|
|NOT||1B Joey Gallo: .182/.206/.394, 10 K in 34 plate appearances|
|NOT||2B Rougned Odor: .167/.222/.167, 0 HR, 4 RBI|
As a team, the Rangers are averaging just 3 runs/game over their first eight contests (Toronto, by contrast, is averaging 5.14, buoyed by Tuesday’s 14 run outburst) … They are in the bottom third in the American League of most offensive categories in the early going … Odor, coming off a terrible offensive season, despite his 30 home runs, continues to struggle at the plate, to the delight of Blue Jays fans … The Rangers have been bad in clutch situations, batting just .191 with runners in scoring position, and just .091 with two outs in that situation.
- 1B Justin Smoak, drafted in the first round by Texas in 2008, debuted with the Rangers in 2010, playing 40 games before being traded to Seattle.
- RHP Jesse Chavez made 38 relief appearances for Toronto in 2016, and nine total appearances in 2012, compiling a 5.89 ERA in his two stints with the club. This year, he’s got an 8.31 ERA over two appearances for the Rangers.
The most notable X in this series, however, is Jose Bautista, who has been at the heart of this rivalry for the last 3 seasons. The former franchise icon is currently unemployed, and as Andrew Stoeten notes, his absence this weekend will be notable. ($)
In The Hole
Toronto will continue its nine game road trip with three games in Baltimore. Following an off day Thursday, they’ll wrap up with three games in Cleveland over the weekend.
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