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Rangers vs. Blue Jays, 7:07 ET
Football is on hold for a couple of days so let us turn our attention to baseball where we’ve had a pretty average season overall. Things haven’t been terrible as we’ve gotten quite a few of our plus money plays and most of our multiple unit plays, but after going 70 games over .500 last year, I should’ve expected a bit of regression. The season isn’t done yet though, so let’s end it strong as we put a unit on the game between the Rangers and Blue Jays, two Wild Card hopefuls.
It’s interesting to write that the Rangers are hoping for a Wild Card berth. Just a month ago they were leading the division and had been for most of the season. Then all of a sudden the Mariners became one of the hottest teams in baseball. They were being chased by the Astros all season, but the Mariners were pretty dormant. Now they need to fight for a Wild Card spot, or potentially still the division, but a playoff berth is no longer certain. They even tried to bolster their staff at the deadline as they added tonight’s starter Max Scherzer. The hitting had been a strength for the Rangers all season, but after Jacob deGrom went down, you had to expect them to do something in hopes of covering the loss of the Ace. The Astros traded for Justin Verlander as well to combat this move. Scherzer has pretty much been everything the Rangers wanted when they acquired him. He’s making his seventh start for them, and only two of the previous six have been non-quality starts. His most recent start was his worst – he allowed seven earned to Houston in just three innings of work. The Ranger flamethrower has been pretty solid against the Blue Jays in his career.
The Blue Jays have been one of the better teams in baseball this season, but you probably wouldn’t realize it given that they have never led the division. They’ve been in the playoff hunt all year and if the season ended today, they would be in the playoffs. With both the Rangers and Mariners chasing them, this is a huge series for them. In fact, this is arguably as big of a series as a playoff series. If they get swept, they still can make it to the playoffs, but they are certainly making things more difficult on themselves. The Blue Jays rest their hopes for this game on Hyun Jin Ryu. Ryu, a lefty, started his season in August and has been pretty solid for Toronto up to this point. In his seven outings, he has allowed two or fewer runs in six of them. The only thing that I kind of want to knock him for is the opponents he faced – he can’t control it, but he’s faced the Guardians twice, Athletics, and Rockies. To be fair, he faced the Reds, Cubs, and Orioles as well, but the Reds have fallen off a bit so really only two playoff-type teams. He’s got a very good track record against the Blue Jays.
Here is the basic expectation: Ryu will pitch five innings and allow two runs. Scherzer will pitch six or seven innings and allow two runs. The question here becomes which bullpen is better if you want to play the full game – it is the Blue Jays. But, why worry about the bullpen when we don’t need to. Scherzer has a better chance of stopping the Blue Jays than Ryu does of stopping the Rangers. I’m taking the Rangers through five in this game.
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