Series Preview: Toronto Blue Jays @ Texas Rangers - Cyanocitta Cristata

Friendster Angle

I don't have much to say about this series. I'm looking for a narrative here. I really am. I just want the Rangers to win some baseball games. I feel spoiled by too much long term success but too little short term gratification. Did you know the Rangers' Pythag record is 30-15? The Rangers are underachieving in the second best start in team history. Here goes some typing, anyway. Substance not guaranteed.

Adam Lind isn't going to play for the Toronto Blue Jays in this series more likely than not. That's good. Lind liked hitting dingers at The Ballpark. The Rangers miss facing Ricky Romero and that's pretty okay. Ricky Romero is a good pitcher and often pitches well when he faces the Rangers. The Rangers do face Brandon Morrow, however. He's also good so that is bad. The Rangers are good enough offensively, however, that they should be able to score enough runs off of most pitchers on most days. Mostly. There are those most often days and then there are those Kevin Millwood days.

The offensive has seen too many of those Millwood days of late. Maybe it seems like that because the team was in the midst of one of only two 20 games in 20 days stretches for this season. Maybe it is because the offense isn't quite as good as the torrid pace set at the start of the season led us to believe. Or, maybe Brandon Synder is a talent sucking man-witch. Whatever the case may be, the Rangers have a couple of series here to figure it out in their hitter-friendly ballpark before heading for the West Coast to hit in the ungodly run-suppressing triumvirate of Angel Stadium, The Coliseum, and AT&T Park. Please start swinging again, Rangers.

The Rangers are a good baseball team that has been playing poorly for the last little while. The Blue Jays are not as good of a baseball team as the Rangers but are playing well in the difficult American League East. I wouldn't be shocked if the Blue Jays continued to perform well and contend for a spot in the Bud Selig Extreme Excitement Wild Card Play-in Bowl late in the season. How strange would it be if the playoffs had Baltimore, Toronto, Tampa and Cleveland? Those thrilling Derek Lowe vs. Jason Hammel October classics.

The Rangers are currently 11-9 at home. That's pretty disappointing. In every year the Rangers have made the postseason, they've finished 15 games or more above .500 at home. That's usually been the trademark of any successful season of Texas Rangers baseball. The Rangers like to murder teams at home and then go on the road to hide the evidence.

I think the least the Rangers could do to reward this influx of paying customers, folks who have decided to make the DFW area a baseball town, is win a whole bunch of the remaining games at home. You don't have to do it for me, Rangers. Do it for them. (And also me.)

Friday, May 25 7:05: RHP Brandon Morrow vs. LHP Derek Holland

Saturday, May 26 2:05: RHP Henderson Alvarez vs. RHP Colby Lewis

Sunday, May 27 2:05: RHP Kyle Drabek vs. RHP Yu Darvish

Here's a breakdown of the pitching match-ups against those maple swillers from the North, the Toronto Blue Jays:

  • Derek Holland: 3-3, 7.86 K/9, 3.25 BB/9, .265 BABIP, 63.0% LOB, 3.78 FIP, 3.95 xFIP, 0.9 WAR - Last three starts: 6 runs allowed in 18.1 innings
  • Brandon Morrow: 5-2, 7.88 K/9, 2.48 BB/9, .217 BABIP, 79.3% LOB, 3.51 FIP, 3.58 xFIP, 1.2 WAR - Last three starts: 7 runs allowed in 20.0 innings

Advantage: Brandon Morrow is kind of awesome over Derek Holland is kind of awesome sometimes.

  • Colby Lewis: 4-3, 7.95 K/9, 1.35 BB/9, .267 BABIP, 83.0% LOB, 4.66 FIP, 3.82 xFIP, 0.5 WAR - Last three starts: 9 runs allowed in 20.2 innings
  • Henderson Alvarez: 3-4, 2.70 K/9, 2.25 BB/9, .250 BABIP, 79.0% LOB, 4.99 FIP, 4.48 xFIP, 0.1 WAR - Last three starts: 9 runs allowed in 18.2 innings

Advantage: Colby Lewis not having to worry about Adam Lind in Arlington over holy crap look at Henderson Alvarez's K rate.

  • Yu Darvish: 6-2, 10.13 K/9, 5.14 BB/9, .299 BABIP, 78.8% LOB, 3.57 FIP, 3.70 xFIP, 1.2 WAR - Last three appearances: 8 runs allowed in 17.0 innings
  • Kyle Drabek: 6-2, 6.34 K/9, 3.62 BB/9, .305 BABIP, 65.0% LOB, 3.35 FIP, 4.10 xFIP, 0.0 WAR - Last three starts: 6 runs allowed in 17.1 innings

Advantage: Yu Darvish not pitching against the Mariners over Kyle Drabek pitching in Arlington.


Toronto Blue Jays (24-21, 3rd Place AL East)

Rangers Record vs. Toronto: 1-2 (All at Rogers Centre)

Toronto's Recent Results: 1-2 series loss against the Tampa Bay Rays

Toronto's Road Record: 12-11 (39-45 in 2011)

Ballpark In Arlington Park Factors (LHB/RHB): HR: 119/114 - wOBA: 103/107

SB Nation Blue Jays Blog: Bluebird Banter

Match-up: (as of 05/24) Rangers Blue Jays Advantage
Batting (RAR) 39.1 (2nd) 1.8 (12th) Rangers
Base Running (RAR) -0.2 (17th) 3.0 (6th) Blue Jays
Starters (RAR) 24.1 12.4 Rangers
Bullpen (RAR) 23.6 (1st) 0.0 (28th) Rangers
Defense (UZR) 15.9 (2nd) -2.2 (19th) Rangers
Overall (UZR + RAR) 102.5 15.0 Rangers

Questions to Answer:

  • On a scale of 1 to 10: If Derek Holland goes six innings and allows four runs, how mad are you?
  • Who is your Mark McLemore Approved Player to Watch in this series? (I like Ian Kinsler to break out at home.)
  • Over/Under: 4.5 walks by Yu Darvish in his start on Sunday?
  • What are the chances: Henderson Alvarez actually has more wins than Yu Darvish over the next five years?
  • It is September 1, what place in the AL East standings are the Toronto Blue Jays?
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