After being swept on their home turf last week, the Toronto Blue Jays went into Arlington and returned the favor to the Texas Rangers, winning 5-1 on Sunday and 8-4 Monday. Now knotted at two apiece, the series heads back to Toronto for a decisive game five on Wednesday. In this do-or-die game, the Rangers will send out lefty Cole Hamels, acquired from the Phillies at the July 31st trade deadline. For the Blue Jays, Marcus Stroman will take the mound. This seems odd, but ace David Price will not be available for the start as he threw 3 innings in relief on Monday, and the Jays will now count on Stroman instead. On a two-game win streak, but having already lost twice at home, can the Blue Jays pull it off and advance to the next round? They will need these three things to happen if they hope to advance.
- Marcus Stroman needs another strong showing at home.
In Friday’s game two start, Stroman tossed seven strong innings, allowing three earned runs and striking out five. The 24-year-old is set to pitch in Wednesday’s game five, and the Blue Jays will need a similar, preferably even better, start from the righty if they hope to advance into the league championship series. Another seven-inning performance would be nice, but if Stroman can one up that and go eight, which would let Toronto go right to dynamic closer Roberto Osuna, the Jays will have a very good chance at meeting up with Kansas City or Houston in the next round.
2. Troy Tulowitzki must deliver in the middle of the lineup
Troy Tulowitzki has been abysmal at the plate this postseason. The Jays shortstop has just two hits in 17 at bats (a .118 average), and they both came in Monday’s win. While one of the hits was a homer that helped Toronto win the game, the Blue Jays are going to need their shortstop to step up his game at the plate and deliver in key moments if they want to win the tough match up against Cole Hamels. It would help if stud outfielder Jose Bautista (40 regular season home runs) also got back on track and bounced back from his .222 average, 1 home run and 1 RBI start.
3. Keep it clean on the field and feed off the home crowd’s energy in a rocking Rogers Centre
In both of Toronto’s losses at home there was at least one error, and one walk. Keep it clean on the field and avoid the walks to keep unnecessary runners off the basepaths. Less runners means less worries for the pitcher, so the more the defense helps out, the easier Stroman’s load will be to carry. Also important for the Blue Jays to remember is that they’re at home! The Rogers Centre is sure to be loud, and the Jays should feed off their home fans’ energy as extra push to get it done on the field.
Game five is Wednesday in Toronto at 4:00 PM ET in what is sure to be an intense and exciting game. Fans coming in for the deciding game can find the most affordable airfare to Toronto on Hipmunk.com. In addition to finding the most economical flight, the most economical hotel deals in Toronto on Hipmunk will be available for booking at a moments notice.