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 2015 season.
The Teams: The Blue Jays entered the playoffs as the World Series favorites and as huge favorites over the Rangers, but Texas shocked them by taking two games in Toronto. But that momentum is gone after the Blue Jays took Games 3 and 4 in Arlington to even things up as we head back to Canada.
Past 2015 Meetings: The Blue Jays won the regular-season series 4-2 — the Rangers' only wins coming from Yovani Gallardo — but now they own the season series 6-4 after the teams split the first four games of this ALDS, both winning both games on the road.
Pitching Matchups: Wednesday — Cole Hamels (7-1, 3.66 ERA) vs. Marcus Stroman (4-0, 1.67).
What's Hot: Adrian Beltre collected two singles in his return from back spasms suffered in Game 1, and he's not 3-for-5 in the series even though he can barely move. Delino DeShields was red hot in Toronto, but cooled in Texas. He's still hitting .300 with two doubles and two RBIs for the series, but all of that damage was done in the Rogers Centre. The Rangers' third best hitter of the series has been Robinson Chirinos, who won't be starting with Hamels on the mound. Hamels struggled early in Game 2 but ended up pitching seven innings and allowing four runs (only two were earned) with six strikeouts and no walks. He was dialed in over the last four innings of Game 2. The bullpen fivesome of Jake Diekman, Shawn Tolleson, Sam Dyson, Keone Kela and even Ross Ohlendorf have been lights out, especially in Toronto.
Blue Jays center fielder Kevin Pillar has probably been the MVP of the series for Toronto. He's hitting .412 (7-for-17) in the series with a homer and two doubles, and most notably, he's been a human vacuum in center field, robbing several well-hit balls from the Rangers in the first four games. AL MVP candidate Josh Donaldson saw his bat wake up in Texas, and he's now 4-for-14 in the series with a double and two homers. Stroman gave up four runs (three earned) in seven innings in Game 2's marathon, but like Hamels, he settled in after the first two innings and was great.
What's Not: Mitch Moreland is 0-for-10 in the series, Mike Napoli is 1-for-6, and Prince Fielder has struggled to a 2-for-16 line in the series. Josh Hamilton is 2-for-15, and both of those hits came in Sunday night's Game 3 loss. Shin-Soo Choo collected three hits on Monday to give him four in the series. Quite simply, the entire lineup is basically struggling right now.
David Price has continued his career trend of being shelled by the Rangers to the tune of eight runs in 10 innings on 11 hits, essentially eliminating himself from a Game 5 appearance despite being the club's ace who was great down the stretch. Troy Tulowitzki has just two hits in the series, but one, of course, was the big three-run homer in Game 3.
Familiar Faces: R.A. Dickey came up in the Rangers' organization, struggled and then reinvented himself as a knuckleballer before winning a Cy Young with the Mets and then cashing in with a big deal with the Blue Jays. Blue Jays first baseman Justin Smoak was once a prized Rangers prospect before he was the key piece to the trade that brought back Cliff Lee from Seattle for the final few months of the magical 2010 season.