The Toronto Blue Jays dropped the first two games of their five-game NLDS matchup with the Texas Rangers but fought back to tie things up, taking both games in Arlington, TX to set up this afternoon's Game 5 in the Rogers Centre.
Today's game is a rematch of the second game of the series, with Marcus Stroman on the mound for the Blue Jays vs Rangers' lefty Cole Hamels. In Game 2, both starters went seven with Stroman allowing five hits, two walks and four runs, three earned and Hamels giving up six hits and four runs, two earned in what ended up a 6-4 win for Texas.
Blue Jays' skipper John Gibbons talked on Tuesday afternoon about sending Stroman, the 24-year-old, 2012 first-round pick, out in a decisive Game 5 after the right-hander fought his way back from a torn ACL in his left knee which was supposed to end his season.
"You really just look where he's come back this year and the games he's pitched," Gibbons said.
"Really, every game he's pitched since he's been back has been a meaningful game for this team. Getting us in for some big games along the way and he pitched a tremendous Game 2. I don't think it really surprises anybody that knows him, that's been around him.
"He's got a great arm. He's got great stuff, whatever you want to call it. But there's something different about him, too, and I expect if anybody can rise to the occasion, it would be him."
Rangers' manager Jeff Banister discussed facing Stroman and sending Hamels out in a decisive game and how the left-hander was acquired just for a start like today's.
"I've seen Stroman in the past, but electric arm, everything moves," Banister said.
"It's coming from a different angle that you're really not used to seeing as a hitter. This is a guy who pitches with a lot of emotion, lot of energy and he likes to work fast and there's a lot of things going on. Look, he's a tough opponent. This kid's got electric stuff."
As for Hamels, the former Philadelphia Phillies' lefty?
"It's why you go out and get top performers, elite competitors, [for] situations exactly like this," Banister said.
"The comforting feeling is that we got a guy on the mound that's going to go for us that has been here, has done it, and is quite capable of continuing to do it."
|TEXAS RANGERS||TORONTO BLUE JAYS|
|Delino DeShields Jr. - CF||Ben Revere - LF|
|Shin-Soo Choo - RF||Josh Donaldson - 3B|
|Prince Fielder - DH||Jose Bautista - RF|
|Adrian Beltre - 3B||Edwin Encarnacion - DH|
|Mitch Moreland - 1B||Chris Colabello - 1B|
|Josh Hamilton - LF||Troy Tulowitzki - SS|
|Elvis Andrus - SS||Russell Martin - C|
|Rougned Odor - 2B||Kevin Pillar - CF|
|Chris Gimenez - C||Ryan Goins - 2B|
|Cole Hamels - LHP||Marcus Stroman - RHP|
Stroman vs the Rangers:
Hamels vs the Blue Jays: