Their win in the AL Wild Card Game earned the Toronto Blue Jays the right to take on the Texas Rangers in the ALDS, which starts tonight in Global Life Park in Arlington.
Marco Estrada is on the mound for the Blue Jays tonight against Rangers’ lefty Cole Hamels in the series opener of the American League Division Series.
Jays’ skipper John Gibbons talked to reporters on Wednesday about going up against the AL West division-winning Rangers for the first time since May and the differences between the team they faced then and will take on now.
“Best record in the American League for a reason,” Gibbons said. “I thought they were really arguably the best team at the time, and when you go out and get [Jonathan] Lucroy and [Carlos] Beltran -- Beltran was a guy we even talked about. We saw him over the years with the Yankees and what a great hitter he was, a clutch-type performer. Of course he ended up here. Jeremy Jeffress is another guy. He used to pitch for us, know him well. Another big arm.
“And then [Carlos] Gomez, he looks like he's doing a nice job for them. So they're a very good team and they added to it and it's paid off and ended up with the best record.
“So it's a really dynamic offense. They've got a lot -- very good balance. The left/right. They've got a lot of team speed and they've got power. So it's tough to shut them down.”
Rangers’ skipper Jeff Banister talked about the history between the two teams and the closely-contested game his team played with the Blue Jays this season, but noted that it’s a “different series, different year” and, “every series takes on its own personality.”
“Both teams just really played incredibly well,” Banister said. “There were some things that went on in those games that as a -- you don't have to be a casual baseball fan to enjoy.
“This year there were some highly contested games in two series. That one in Toronto that -- I mean, it had a playoff atmosphere early on in the season. And then here in our ballpark, everybody saw kind of how two teams played emotional.
“But at this point, I gotta believe that the emotion of this series is based on playing well, performing well, and moving on to the next round.”
The ALDS matchup starts at 4:30 PM with Marco Estrada on the mound opposite Cole Hamels.
|TORONTO BLUE JAYS||TEXAS RANGERS|
|Devon Travis - 2B||Carlos Gomez - LF|
|Josh Donaldson - 3B||Ian Desmond - CF|
|Edwin Encarnacion - 1B||Carlos Beltran - DH|
|Jose Bautista - DH||Adrian Beltre - 3B|
|Russell Martin - C||Rougned Odor - 2B|
|Troy Tulowitzki - SS||Jonathan Lucroy - C|
|Kevin Pillar - CF||Mitch Moreland - 1B|
|Melvin Upton Jr. - LF||Elvis Andrus - SS|
|Ezequiel Carrera - RF||Shin-Soo Choo - RF|
|Marco Estrada - RHP||Cole Hamels - LHP|
Hamels vs the Jays:
Estrada vs the Rangers: