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On Deck: Rangers at Blue Jays

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On Deck: Rangers at Blue Jays

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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: What better place to escape the heat of a Texas summer than the frosty climate of Canada? Okay, so it isn't frosty at all in Toronto these days, but they do use Celsius for temperature readings so it will seem that way while the Rangers are facing the Blue Jays. 

Past 2011 Meetings: The Rangers took two of three from the Jays at home last weekend, giving them a 3-4 record against Toronto overall this season. The teams won't meet again this season so this is their last shot to muster at least a split in the 2011 series. 

Pitching Matchups: Friday - Alexi Ogando (10-4, 2.79) vs. Brett Cecil (3-4, 4.71); Saturday - Derek Holland (9-4, 4.43) vs. Brad Mills (no 2011 appearances); Sunday - C.J. Wilson (10-4, 3.16) vs. Brandon Morrow (7-5, 4.71)

What's Hot: The Rangers scored 51 runs during their seven-game homestand, a number you would expect to lead to more than four wins. Even when you take out the 20 they scored against the Twins on Monday, the team put up more than five runs per game. That should quiet some concerns about missing out on Carlos Beltran.

Speaking of trades, the Jays made a pretty big one this week. In a three-team swap with the White Sox and Cardinals, the Jays landed center fielder Colby Rasmus from St. Louis. Big things have been projected for Rasmus, but he didn't click with Tony LaRussa and the team sold him pretty low all things considered. Now he goes to a place that's better for lefty hitters with power and, after getting shortstop Yunel Escobar last year, the Jays might have stolen their second straight strong young player on the cheap.

The Rangers will probably make some kind of move this weekend with the bullpen looking like the likeliest landing spot for a new face. Heath Bell is the biggest name on the block, but he isn't necessarily going to be the guy with a "T" on his hat come next week.

What's Not: We'll find out this weekend if the Rangers have a serious issue facing lefty pitching or if they just came out flat in their last two games against southpaws. Cecil was one of those lefties and he shut them out last Sunday, so another loss to him wouldn't tell us much. Mills is being summoned from Triple-A for the first time this season, however, and a poor showing might reveal a real problem.

Jose Bautista's homerless streak is now at 12 games, although he still leads the league with 31 this season. If you had bet someone in 2009 that Bautista going 12 games without a home run qualified as news, you'd be slightly richer today.

The wind has gone out of Ian Kinsler's sails. While the rest of the team was hitting like gangbusters this week, he was just 6-of-32 on the homestand. Kinsler's been streaky this season, now it's just a question of how long this streak will last before the next hot one comes down the pike.

Familiar Faces: Other than Rasmus, the Jays should all be pretty familiar since you just saw them on Sunday.

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