MLB Playoff Betting Preview: Texas vs. Toronto

Everyone thought that after Texas winning the first two out of a best-of-five that they would have the American League Divisional Series win in their gloves. But behold, the Blue Jays will not that easily be swatted away, as they come back and win the next two games to tie the series and take it to a tie breaker.

On Monday the Blue Jays forced a Game 5 with 8-4 win at Texas, to even the American League Divisional Series. They will head back to Toronto for Game 5, which will be played on Wednesday at 4:07 p.m. ET.

To win game 4, Jays Josh Donaldson hit a two-run home run and Chris Colabello hit a solo shot off Derek Holland to get Toronto off to a secure 3–0 start in the first inning. Toronto hit home four more runs in the next two innings to put Texas in a hole they just couldn’t dig themselves out of. The Jays took a commanding 7-0 lead in the third inning which meant that their powerful offense was back on track from the first pitch in Texas after struggling in the first two games.

Blue Jays picthing was also strong as starter R.A. Dickey pitched 4 2/3 innings with three strikeouts and five hits. Dickey, interestingly enough was starting his first postseason game against the team with whom he began his career, so he had a lot to pitch for.

David Price pitched three innings out of the bullpen to close the game. He gave up three hits for three runs with three strikeouts. Those stats pretty much eliminated him from pitching in the decisive fifth game.

To change it up the Rangers will most probably send their star starter, Cole Hamels, to the mound in Toronto to face the Jays’ Marcus Stroman. Stroman gave up four runs (three earned) in seven-plus innings in Game 2 but was strong after his first two innings. Stroman, who missed the majority of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, is very confident heading in to the biggest game of his young career so far.

He told local media today, “I would say I’m confident. Some people may call it cocky. It is what it is…It’s something that my dad kind of raised me with, a huge chip on my shoulder. I’m not scared to say that, I’m extremely confident. That’s something that I pride myself on, that’s the reason I’m at where I’m at.

“He always told me I’m going to be the smallest guy in the room so I have to be the most confident and that’s something that I kind of pitch with today.” Added the the five-foot-eight pitcher.

Confidence is good, but what the Jays have to be weary of is that the Rangers did manage 11 hits in Game 4. Of course, the good news for them was that 10 of those 11 hits were singles and they didn’t draw a single walk, but surely in Game 5 they will be coming to Toronto with their guns ablazing.

But they could be also repeating what they did back in the 2010 ALDS against the Tampa Bay Rays. Then, the Rangers won the first two games on the the road. Then they lost two games at home. Then they went into The Trop and used a lefty starter they had acquired via trade that summer (Cliff Lee). Very similar to the current series, the Rangers won their two road games, lost both of their home games and are now looking to play Cole Hamels, a lefty they acquired via trade this past July. Strange occurence, but one that makes the odds look good for Toronto here.

What’s most notable going into Game 5 is that the Blue Jays won Game 4 to give themselves a chance to join the likes of the 2001 Yankees and the 2012 Giants as the only teams to lose the first two games of a best-of-five series at home, and then come back to win the series. They are the fifth team ever to even force a fifth game under such situations. That says a lot about this team that Charlie Sheen is backing.

We’ll agree with good ‘Ole Charlie on this one too!

Our prediction: Blue Jays win Game 5 and take the series