The Blue Jays are on a bit of a win streak. Since losing back-to-back contests against the Baltimore Orioles, Toronto have won three games in a row – including two triumphs over the Milwaukee Brewers earlier this week. And with the Texas Rangers struggling to build momentum, the Canadian outfit could prosper if they find their best form; especially as the Rogers Centre crowd will be ready to make plenty of noise.
Unfortunately for Toronto, they are still sitting fifth in the American League East, they are out at 50/1 with 888Sport to win the World Series, and it is hard to see the Blue Jays climbing the division in the near future. There are still plenty of games to be won and lost but the playoffs look an eternity away. But they can beat Texas this weekend and that will certainly keep fans happy ahead of a difficult run of fixtures against the Cincinnati Reds.
Toronto Blue Jays
As mentioned in an earlier preview, John Gibbons is in charge of one of the weakest teams in Major League Baseball but the Blue Jays are showing signs of progress. They were well beaten by the Orioles in their first two contests but Toronto showed great resilience to snag the third game of the series – and consecutive wins against Milwaukee should give the Blue Jays a confidence boost ahead of this three-game series.
Those wins against the high-flying Brewers have helped to boost Toronto’s away form after a somewhat slow start to the campaign. The Blue Jays have won 11 of their 26 road games this year but a return home could be huge. As of May 25th, Texas have won just eight away matches so far this season and Gibbons will be confident of a home win.
KEY MEN: JOSE BAUTISTA. After a difficult April, Bautista has come into his own in May and he was central to Toronto’s mini-series triumph over the Brewers this week. At the time of writing, he is midway through an on-base streak of 16 games and has seven multihit games in his last 11 appearances. With seven home runs in May alone, Bautista is one of Toronto’s most effective players.
KEVIN PILLAR. Once again, Pillar comes into the mix. While you could make a decent claim for the returning Josh Donaldson to be considered, Pillar’s individual performance against Milwaukee deserves recognition. In notching his seventh home run of the campaign, Pillar has now matched his 2016 season total but with 382 fewer plate appearances. Keep an eye on the Toronto star this weekend.
If Toronto could choose anybody to play right now, they’d probably consider the Texas Rangers. The visitors are in real trouble on the road, losing 15 of their 23 games so far this campaign. And with the Blue Jays gaining momentum, it is hard to see the Rangers reversing the current form.
While they are still very much in contention in the American League West, Texas must focus on improving their dire away form. At home, they’ve been sensational and Rangers head coach Jeff Bannister will attempt to motivate his side to go north of the border and come back with a vital win.
KEY MAN: SAM DYSON. After a poor outing against the Boston Red Sox earlier this week, the Rangers man will be keen to make amends here. He allowed five of Boston’s seven runs in the seventh innings and ultimately cost his side any chance of victory despite Martin Perez’s own efforts to keep Boston out. Dyson will be determined to shine this weekend and the Blue Jays should expect a backlash.
According to the form book, this is only going one way and that is in favour of Toronto. It is strange to back the Blue Jays for victory but their luck may be about to take a turn for the better. With players returning from injury and Texas’ woeful road form, this could be a fairly comfortable clash for the Canadian side.
BLUE JAYS 5-2 RANGERS