The Blue Jays and Rangers Draw Many Parallels
At first glance, the Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers might not look all that similar. Two different teams from two completely different divisions that don’t have all that much of a history together. But that could all change very soon.
When I look at the Blue Jays and the Rangers, I see two very similar squads. Two good-fielding teams with very adept baserunners and with enough power and offense to blow open a game at any given moment.
So when you put it that way, it actually looks like this Blue Jays/Rangers ALDS could be quite entertaining. In many ways, this matchup against the Rangers is much more preferable for the Blue Jays rather than facing the Wild Card winner.
A Tale of Two Halves for Toronto and Texas
The Blue Jays were 45-46 at the All-Star Break, and a after a flurry of moves at the trade deadline, the Jays transformed themselves into a 48-23 team and one of the most formidable teams in all of baseball.
The Texas Rangers were also a middling team in the first half, going into the All-Star break as a 42-46 team. But much like the Blue Jays, the Rangers completely changed their fate and put up a 46-28 record in the second half.
In retrospect, the Blue Jays and the Rangers made the right moves at the trade deadline; but considering where they stood in the standings, the argument could’ve been made that they had no business being buyers at the trade deadline.
A Pair of Heavy-Hitting Teams
When you think of offensive juggernauts, most will likely point towards the Blue Jays and the Rangers. While the Jays were far and away the better overall offensive team in 2015, both Toronto and Texas were pretty even in the second half.
The Blue Jays and Rangers ranked second and third in team batting average in the second half; Toronto at .274 and Texas at .270. The Rangers scored the bulk of their runs in the traditional sense while the Jays relied on the home run.
Toronto holds the edge against left-handed pitching (which the Texas Rangers have plenty of), but both squads are fairly evenly matched when it comes to hitting against right-handers. The Jays hit .266 on the season against righties while the Rangers hit .260.
Many Roster Similarities
If you go up and down the Blue Jays’ and Rangers’ rosters, you will see many parallels.
It all starts with both team’s prized trade deadline acquisitions; David Price and Cole Hamels. Both aces helped propel their respective teams into the postseason and provided some much-needed stability to their starting rotations.
Yovani Gallardo and Marco Estrada seem quite similar to me; their repertoires are slightly different as Estrada leans heavily on his changeup while Gallardo often goes to his slider. As far as velocity goes, both are 89-90 MPH guys.
Marcus Stroman and Derek Holland draw many comparisons as well. Both returning from injuries late in the season to help bolster their club’s playoff chances.
Take a look at both Toronto and Texas’ starting lineup and it’s littered with mirror images as well.
The Jays and Rangers have wily veterans at the meat of their order; for the Blue Jays it’s Jose Bautista, who’s getting his first taste of the postseason. For the Rangers, it’s Adrian Beltre who’s only building upon his eventual Hall of Fame career.
The Blue Jays employ a two-headed solution at first base in Justin Smoak and Chris Colabello, as do the Texas Rangers with Mitch Moreland and Mike Napoli.