Red Fever
Complete coverage of the Texas Rangers

On Deck: Rangers Vs. Blue Jays

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    NEWSLETTERS

    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 2011 season.

    The Opponent: It's time to brush up on the lyrics to "O Canada" because the Blue Jays are coming to The Ballpark for four games. For national anthem buffs, it's going to be a good week because the Canadians wrote themselves a fine one.

    Pitching Matchups: Monday - Kyle Drabek (1-0, 3.00 ERA) vs. Colby Lewis (1-2, 5.82); Tuesday - Jesse Litsch (1-1, 3.63) vs. Matt Harrison (3-1, 1.88); Wednesday - Jo-Jo Reyes (0-2, 6.20) vs. Derek Holland (3-1, 4.39); Thursday - Brandon Morrow (0-1, 5.06) vs. Alexi Ogando (3-0, 2.13) 

    What's Hot: Jose Bautista's spectacular 2010 season was not a fluke. He's on pace to hit 54 home runs, the same amount he hit last year, and is hitting a robust .359 to boot. His RBI total isn't looking quite so healthy, but that has a lot more to do with the other Blue Jays than it does with Bautista.

    Adrian Beltre had a good series against the Royals, including a home run hit off of his back knee on Sunday. We're not sure that his style of hitting is ever going to catch on, especially not when you see how ridiculous he looks on a swing and a miss, but it's nice to have a player who refuses to get cheated on a single trip to the plate.

    Darren Oliver got a save on Saturday and Arthur Rhodes nailed down Sunday's game which means old lefty closers are the hottest thing in town. Much will be made of Neftali Feliz's absence, but let's put a positive spin on it. If Oliver and Rhodes can do the job, there won't be any argument against making Feliz a starter in time for next season.

    What's Not: The Blue Jays have battled a bunch of injuries already this season, part of the reason why they've already made 27 roster moves. The other part of the reason is that the roster isn't exactly overflowing with talent.

    It's not overflowing with guys producing all that much either. Adam Lind, Travis Snider and the now-injured Aaron Hill are key cogs in the lineup and all of them are off to terrible starts at the plate. The Jays pitching has been decent enough, but they aren't going to win if they don't start hitting.

    Also not hot: The prospect of facing Jays closer Jon Rauch. He's about as imposing as a pitcher gets. He's 6-10, covered in tattoos and, as his headshot shows, fairly well versed in making a terrifying facial expression.

    Familiar Faces: Frank Francisco is finally healthy and back on the mound. He's setting up Rauch for now, something that figures to remain the case until he's got his feet back under him and/or Rauch proves unable to perform the task. That shouldn't stop someone from suggesting he should still be in Texas replacing Feliz if he shuts the Rangers down once or twice during the set.