Next up: Four-game set between Blue Jays and Rangers has massive implications
Photo credit:© Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
By Nick Prasad10 days ago
The Toronto Blue Jays are rolling in the positive lane through the most critical month of the Major League Baseball calendar. Toronto has won three series so far in September and now occupy the second wild-card position in the American League ahead of possibly their most important head-to-head of the season.
The Blue Jays are 8-2 in the last 10 games, scoring 57 runs in the month. This type of offense and performance needs to roll into this week where the Texas Rangers look to push their postseason campaign. Toronto is plus-one game in the second seed of the American League Wild Card race while the Rangers are half a game outside looking in. Texas sits in fourth, right behind the Seattle Mariners.
In order for the Blue Jays to win their season series with Texas and ultimately hold the tiebreaker on them in the standings, they have to win three of four games. The Rangers won two of three games in Texas when the two teams met earlier in the season.
The series will kick off on Monday and will see the mound take the mound for the birds while Dane Dunning goes for Texas. Bassitt gets the start and has been on point for the team so far. The righty is 14-7 with a 3.69 ERA, and 158 strikeouts over 173 1/3 innings, however, his last start against Texas resulted in a no-decision with a 4.16 ERA, five runs allowed, three earned in 3 2/3 innings of work. Bassitt will rely on his repertoire and recent success, married up with a semi-consistent team run production.
Game two will be a pitchers’ duel featuring two veteran starters, Max Scherzer against Hyun Jin Ryu. Scherzer is 12-6 with a 3.91 ERA and tied for the 18th spot for league strikeouts with 172. His last start against the Houston Astros was ugly, picking up a 3-12 loss, giving up seven earned runs, and three home runs in only three innings of work.
Since being active, Ryu has been a huge contributor since coming back from Tommy John surgery. He’s gone 3-2 in his short 2023 term, providing a consistent average of five innings of work. The Jays bullpen must be ready to platoon innings if needed on the back end to grab a win as Ryu hasn’t gone more than five innings in a start yet this year.
The third game on Wednesday is a lefty matchup, Texas is throwing Jordan Montgomery, and the Blue Jays send Yusei Kikuchi. Montgomery is 8-11 with a 3.62 ERA and he’s struggled recently, especially in the recent Texas downfall. Montgomery has posted a 7.94 ERA in the last seven days. Kikuchi has his ups and downs but has been a strikeout machine when utilizing his out-pitches. This is a fair matchup with an emphasis on the Toronto side.
The four-game series will conclude with Kevin Gausman for the home team. Gausman has been trekking along this season, three wins above .500 on his record. Nathan Eovaldi will finish it for the Rangers. The all-star has had an overall good season and will compete from the right side for a dub.
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