The Blue Jays won the AL wild card game and their reward is a matchup with the 95 win Texas Rangers. Will the Rangers take advantage of the extra rest or will the Blue Jays send the Rangers home in the 1st round again? Last year’s series got pretty heated and I expect more of the same.
Toronto didn’t repeat as AL East champs but they did reach the postseason for the 2nd consecutive year. I’m sure they’re not satisfied with just making it though. Last year the blue Jays were very much like this year’s Red Sox. They absolutely crushed the ball and could not be stopped. This season they’re much more rounded. The lineup is still really good; Josh Donaldson was just as good following up his MVP 2015 season. But the pitching got a lot better moving up from 12th to 6th in ERA. Much of that can be attributed to young starter Aaron Sanchez, who really dominated the AL at just 24 years old.
The Texas Rangers are a much harder team to figure out. They led the AL for most of the season yet finished with only a +8 run differential. Their lineup was good, as expected, but not great. They didn’t shut down opposing offenses either, finishing 22nd in team ERA. It’s hard to see how this team is even good but they won so many games that they have to be. Right? They do have Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish at the top of the rotation and no AL team can top that.
The Pick: Toronto in 4
The Blue Jays are just a more complete team. Their rotation is deeper, their lineup is a little better, but the biggest difference might be in the bullpen where Toronto really has the advantage