TORONTO- After trailing the Texas Rangers 0-2, the Toronto Blue Jays managed to even the series on the road to force a Game 5 at the Rogers Centre. For the Blue Jays, this is the most important game. A win will send them to the ALCS, lose they will go home.
The Blue Jays will send Marcus Stroman to avoid elimination. For Stroman, this may be the biggest start of his career. Since the 24-year old right hander came back from a torn ACL, he made 4 starts while posting a 1.67 ERA over 27 innings. Stroman had a solid outing during his first postseason debut, pitching in seven innings, gave up four runs (three earned) and struck out 5 Rangers’ batters. The Blue Jays are confident that Stroman can handle the pressure and live for this huge moment.
Sending Stroman on the mound is the right move given the fact that David Price struggles against the Rangers throughout his career. Despite earning his second postseason win, Price pitched in three inning and gave up six hits and three earned runs out of the bullpen. Price isn’t available for Game 5, but given the fact that Aaron Loup wasn’t available for Game 4, the Blue Jays may not have any lefty relievers out of the bullpen.
After only hitting .171 during Games 1 and 2, the Blue Jays’ bats came alive during Games 3 and 4 at Arlington Park. The Blue Jays hit .309 and scored 13 runs and hit 4 home runs during that two-game span. They were more patience and discipline at the plate and managed to take full advantage against lefties Martin Perez and Derrek Holland. The Rangers will send southpaw Cole Hamels to match up against the team. Hamels pitched in Game 2, giving up 4 runs (2 earned) over 7 innings. With Hamels starting, this means that the Rangers will start with four consecutive lefties. All season long, the Blue Jays hit well against lefties, but Hamels will be a tough match up with his fastball-changeup combo. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Yovani Gallardo out of the bullpen, who dominate the Blue Jays this season.
There’s no doubt that Game 5 is the most important game for the Blue Jays. Win this game, they will face either the Houston Astros or Kansas City Royals in the ALCS. Lose this game, they will be sent home packing. Look for the Jays to be more selective at the plate. For Stroman, look for him to use rely on his 2-seam fastball and slider combo to worn out the rangers.
Game 5 will be the defining moment for the 2015 Blue Jays. The question now is “Are they ready for this moment?”