The Texas Rangers travel north of the border to take on the Toronto Blue Jays in the opener of a three-game series on Monday. Texas won two of three in the teams’ only other series this season.
The Rangers are currently one game over .500 at 59-58 and sitting in third place in the AL West, 17.5 games back from the Houston Astros and nine games back from a Wild Card spot. Texas is 6-4 over its last 10 games and is just 24-36 on the road this season.
Scheduled to start in this game is right-hander Ariel Jurado. In his last start against the Indians, Jurado allowed just two runs over seven innings while striking out five but still took the loss. That brought him to 6-7 on the season with a 4.74 ERA and 69 strikeouts. The 23-year-old’s role has changed all season long, so look for him to try to get some consistency going with a solid start here.
The batting leaders for the Rangers have been Joey Gallo, Elvis Andrus, and Rougned Odor. Second baseman Odor leads the team in RBI with 64 while posting a .205 batting average and hitting 20 home runs. Elvis Andrus leads the team with his .284 batting average. Centerfielder Joey Gallo leads the team with 22 home runs while carrying a .253 batting average and recording 49 runs batted in.
The Blue Jays have had a rough go of things this year, as they currently sit at 49-72 and in fourth place in the AL East, 29.5 games back from the Yankees and 21 games out of the last Wild Card spot. The Blue Jays are 22-36 at home this season. Look for Toronto to continue to use the rest of its season to figure out which players to build around as they move forward.
Getting the start for the Blue Jays is Neil Ramirez, who will serve as an opener in this game. This will be Ramirez’s first start for Toronto after they picked him up earlier this week following his release from the Indians. The 30-year-old has a 5.10 ERA and 18 strikeouts this season. Either Brock Stewart or Zack Godley will get the bulk of the work once Ramirez is done.
Shortstop Freddy Galvis currently leads the team in batting average and runs batted in, as he has 18 home runs, a .267 average, and 54 RBI. Galvis is a key part of their lineup, and after going 0 for his last seven at-bats over two games against the Yankees, look for him to use this series to get back on track. The Blue Jays centerfielder, Randal Grichuk, leads the team with 20 home runs. He also carries a .234 batting average and has 52 RBI.
What To Expect
While the Blue Jays are at home for this game, that does not seem to be a factor here because they are just as bad at home as the Rangers are on the road. Simply put, I think the Rangers are the better team here and will have the better pitcher on the mound, so I like them to take this one in a close game. Bet on Texas.