On Deck will be here all season to provide you with everything you need to know (and a few things you don't) about every Rangers series during the 2013 season.
The Opponent: The Toronto Blue Jays took two of three games against the Rangers last weekend but are in last place in the AL East — the final losing team the Rangers will play this month. If things fall right, it could be a nice opportunity for the Rangers to get some wins in their pocket before finishing off a brutal month against teams like the A's, Yankees, Cardinals and Reds.
Past 2013 Meetings: Just last weekend, the Blue Jays took two of three from the Rangers in Toronto, including Saturday's 18-inning marathon.
Pitching Matchups: Thursday — Yu Darvish (7-2, 2.75 ERA) vs. Esmil Rogers (1-2, 3.80); Friday — Justin Grimm (5-4, 5.25) vs. Buehrle (2-4, 5.06); Saturday — Josh Lindblom (0-1, 5.91) vs. Josh Johnson (0-2, 5.40); Sunday — Derek Holland (5-3, 3.11) vs. R.A. Dickey (5-8, 5.11).
What's Hot: Not much is clicking right now for the Rangers' offense, but one thing that is is the bat of A.J. Pierzynski, who's hitting .357 with a homer and three doubles over the last seven games. Jurickson Profar hit a bit of a cool stretch on the Rangers' road trip but went 3-for-5 on Wednesday night. Also, don't look now, but Ross Wolf has turned into quite the long-relief man, pitching wonderfully in that 18-inning game in Toronto and again on Tuesday night.
Since coming off the disabled list against the Rangers last weekend, outfielder Rajai Davis has set the world on fire, going 5-for-10 over that time with an RBI and three stolen bases — where he'll likely try to take advantage of Pierzynski's trouble throwing out baserunners. It doesn't get much hotter than Adam Lind, who's hitting .435 over his last five games and is up to .344 on the season. Also, look out for Jose Bautista, who was in a dreadful slump but has hit three bombs over his last five games.
What's Not: Here's what's not hot for the Rangers: Pretty much their entire offense. Of the Rangers' regulars, four are hitting under .200 over the last seven days, and the number grows to five if you include Chris McGuiness, who has taken over for the injured Mitch Moreland as the team's regular first baseman. The most extended, disappointing streak here is David Murphy's, who's hitting .211 on the season, followed closely by Elvis Andrus, who is hitting .254 on the year.
R.A. Dickey, who the Rangers will face this time around after missing the defending NL Cy Young winner last weekend, has been struggling to find his knuckleball, getting bombed in his last outing and lasting just five innings while giving up 10 hits and seven earned runs.
Familiar Faces: Remember the Yu Darvish sweepstakes that the Rangers so gloriously won? Well, this Blue Jays team was second in the running, at least according to several reports (the final tally was never released publicly). Imagine if Darvish was coming to Arlington as a visitor for Thursday's start. That wouldn't be a good thing. Mark DeRosa was a Rangers' utility man for a year and gave them a productive season, while pitcher R.A. Dickey, who came up in the Rangers' system before his well-publicized fall from grace that led to last year's NL Cy Young award with the Mets, is now in Toronto and off to a rough start although he seems to have figured out his knuckler in his last outing. Rangers reliever Jason Frasor came up in the Blue Jays' system and played his first eight big-league seasons with the Blue Jays.