Much like the probable temperature on the thermometer at the start of the game, the Rangers will be playing game number 100 tonight. It's strange how the All-Star Game is generally considered the midway point of the season, and yet, there's only 60 something games remaining and we're just getting out of the All-Star break. This second half is going to fly by.
For the Rangers, this game #100 is against the Blue Jays, at home, and coming off one of the more unusual stretches of Rangers baseball we are likely to ever see.
Of course, there was the 12 game winning streak. But there was also the five shutouts in nine games played, the current streak of seven in eight games of allowing one run or fewer, and the game yesterday where the winning, and only, run was scored on a two out gaffe by Endy Chavez. That dropped ball eventually led to the Rangers dropping their second consecutive game for the first time since they lost to the Marlins on July 2nd and 3rd. The loss on the 3rd would be the last time the Rangers would lose until a fluky six run inning by the Angels did the Rangers in on Wednesday, and that was the first time the Rangers had lost to an American League team since June 16th. Weird, wild stuff.
Now the Rangers play their first home game since July 10th. Between now and then, they have tripled their lead in the AL West. It's been a pretty fun ride. That said, playing the Blue Jays at the Ballpark hasn't been easy recently for the Rangers. The Rangers are 1-3 this season against the Jays at the Ballpark. The Rangers went 1-2 against the Blue Jays at the Ballpark last season. The Rangers went 3-3 against the Blue Jays at the Ballpark in 2009. The Rangers went 2-4 against the Blue Jays at the Ballpark in 2008. You have to go back to 2007, when the Rangers swept the Jays, in the only time they played in Arlington that year, to find a season in which the Rangers won a home season series against the Blue Jays (though they went 2-5 in Canada that year).
It's likely just sample noise, but it does seem like the recent offensively powerful Blue Jay teams have been well suited to slug it out in Arlington and give the Rangers problems. Hopefully, if one streak can continue, it will be the Rangers recent pitching success and not Blue Jays success at the Ballpark.
Sunday, July 24 7:05: LHP Brett Cecil vs. RHP Alexi Ogando
Toronto Blue Jays (50-49, 4th Place AL East)
Rangers' 2011 Record vs. Blue Jays: (1-3 All at The Ballpark)
Toronto's Recent Results: 3-0 Series sweep against the Seattle Mariners
Toronto's Road Record: 26-25
Ballpark in Arlington Park Factors (LHB/RHB): HR: 120/109 - wOBA: 103/106
SB Nation Blue Jays Blog: Bluebird Banter
|Match-up: (as of 7/21)||Rangers||Blue Jays||Advantage|
|Overall RAR + UZR||121.6||64.6||Rangers!|
Questions to Answer:
- Who, besides Aquaman, wants to know what Jose Bautista's ridiculous WAR and OPS are currently at? Bautista WAR is 7.0 which is 1.6 wins higher than the next position player on the leaderboard. Bautista's OPS is 1.156 which is .163 higher than the next position player on the leaderboad. Is there really another option for American League MVP this season? Are we really debating this?
- Who is your pick to lead the Rangers in OPS in this series? (I'll say Nelson Cruz catches fire.)
- Over/Under: 5.5 runs allowed by the Rangers in this series?
- Who do you feel is most likely to pitch a shutout and continue the Rangers streak of great pitching? (I rank it in this order: Ogando, Harrison, Lewis)
- Do you think these guys flew back in from Canada ?