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Series Preview: Toronto Blue Jays @ Texas Rangers - Flip the script

The Rangers welcome the Blue Jays to Arlington for the first time since last October

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

We've already seen what plans the Rangers had for Jose Bautista a couple of weeks ago in Toronto. After a winter-long discussion about retribution by way of a fastball to the ribs for a perceived bat flip slight last October, the Rangers elected to instead just get Bautista out a whole bunch.

Even though the Blue Jays won the war -- going 3-1 against Texas in the series at Rogers Centre -- the Rangers won the battle against Bautista as they held him to 1-15 with three walks and just two RBIs. In addition to those stats, Bautista led the baseball world in times he hollered at the umpire for any perceived slight to his God given right to smack baseballs.

This will be Bautista's first time back in Arlington since The Bat Flip as the Rangers and Blue Jays battle for a final time in 2016 over the weekend. He will be booed. He will do something heelish in the outfield to taunt the fans. He will scowl and pout and gripe when the calls don't go his way at the plate. The best you, the fan, can do is hope the Rangers keep getting him out. The best revenge is living well.

Series Schedule:

Friday, May 13 7:05 pm: RHP R.A. Dickey vs LHP Martin Perez

Saturday, May 14 7:05 pm: RHP Marco Estrada vs RHP Colby Lewis

Sunday, May 15 2:05 pm: RHP Aaron Sanchez vs LHP Cesar Ramos

Toronto Strengths:

It's pretty simple, really. The Blue Jays begin and end with their No. 2-No. 5 hitters.

2. Josh Donaldson

3. Jose Bautista

4. Edwin Encarnacion

5. Troy Tulowitzki

It's just exhausting to read it, much less pitch through it three or four times per game. When even two of those four are hot, the Blue Jays are tough to beat because they just wear you out with high-stress pitches every other inning.

Toronto Weaknesses:

When a few of the big four are slumping it shines a light on the bottom third of the lineup where you start asking for the likes of Michael Saunders, Justin Smoak, and Ryan Goins to contribute. We saw in Toronto that they can do that on any given night. Smoak, for example, pretty much single-handedly beat the Rangers back on May 3 with a 9th inning game-tying home run and a walk off dinger in the 11th.

However, for much of the season, the Blue Jays' lineup hasn't been producing the same way as last year's club. In 2015, the Jays scored over 100 runs more than the nearest team as they led the majors. Currently, Toronto is just 7th in the American League in scoring. It's a stark difference.

So far, the 3-4-5 of the big four are hitting a combined .179 in 452 PAs. Toronto's greatest strength has been the weakness of the club so far.

Go Rangers!

Toronto Blue Jays (18-18, 3rd Place in AL East)

Rangers' Record vs. Blue Jays: 1-3 (All at Rogers Centre)

Toronto's Recent Results: 2-1 road series win at the San Francisco Giants

Toronto's 2016 Road Record: 9-8

The Ballpark Park Factors (LHB/RHB): HR: 99/103 - Runs: 113/110

SB Nation Blue Jays Blog: Bluebird Banter

Match-up: (as of 05/13) Rangers Blue Jays Advantage
Batting (RAR) -4.9 (15th) -7.0 (16th) Rangers
Base Running (RAR) 3.3 (4th) -3.2 (24th) Rangers
Starters (RAR) 1.4 18.7 Blue Jays
Bullpen (RAR) -11.6 (29th) 6.1 (16th) Gross
Defense (UZR) 17.6 (2nd) 3.1 (11th) Rangers!
Overall (UZR + RAR) 5.8 17.7 : (

Questions to Answer:

  • Yay or Nay: The Blue Jays will make another appearance in the playoffs within the next five years?
  • Who is your Return of the McLemore Approved Player to Watch in this series? (Well, I guess I'm interested in seeing how Matt Bush will do.)
  • Over/Under: 3.5 times Jose Bautista stands at the plate yelling at an umpire like a petulant child in this series?
  • What's your guess for line (IP/H/K/BB/ER) by Cesar Ramos on Sunday as he makes a spot start for the Rangers?
  • Do the Rangers end this weekend with a series win against Toronto and put the ALDS to bed for good?