Texas at Toronto, Apr 8-10

Friday, April 08 2022 @ 01:00 PM EDT

Contributed by: Magpie

Here we go.

The Blue Jays have emerged as the trendy pick to win the AL East and make a deep post-season run. It seems to me that they haven't been so highly regarded, that there hasn't been this much excitement heading into the season since... well, since 2013. Remember when they fleeced the Marlins for two quality starting pitchers and an All-Star shortstop whilst simultaneously acquiring a Cy Young winner from the Mets? They couldn't miss. How did that work out anyway?

Everybody's got a plan until they get punched in the mouth. This team looks pretty good, they really do. But the punches are coming. They always do. And then we'll see.

The Texas Rangers provide the opposition for this opening series, and the Jays and Rangers hooked up in a couple of fun divisional series back in the day, way back in 2015 and 2016. It may not seem all that long ago, but only one of the players who appeared in that series is still a member of one of the teams that will meet this weekend. That would be Texas southpaw Martin Perez, back in the fold after stops in Minnesota and Boston. The Blue Jays do have the same pitching coach and third base coach, but I'm pretty sure Walker and Rivera are the only uniformed Jays personnel who were around for Jose's mighty bat flip and Donaldson's mad dash home. Good times, no?

As for this year's troop of Rangers, despite some extremely impressive upgrades in the middle of their infield, they will probably struggle to win as often as they lose. The 2021 edition lost 102 games, so there's a lot of ground that they need to make up. No AL team scored fewer runs last year, and only two AL teams allowed more. Semien and Seager will surely help improve that, on both sides of the ball. They've also brought in a couple of veterans (Brad Miller and Kole Calhoun) to fill the corner outfield spots, which might work.  I somehow suspect at least one of those guys will turn out to be more or less past his best-by date (Calhoun, I bet.) They can feel good about centre fielder Adolis Garcia, who hit 31 homers and finished fourth in the Rookie-of-the-Year voting last year, but they'd probably feel even better if he wasn't already 29 years old. Did you know that? I didn't.

And their pitching... well, it doesn't inspire a great deal of confidence. Perez is back, and they signed Jon Gray from the Rockies. I assume they're hoping those two can provide roughly league average stability at the top of the rotation. Tryouts will be in progress for the other three spots. They have high hopes for Taylor Hearn, an enormous lefty who worked out of the pen last year. Spencer Howard and Dane Dunning, a couple of young RH of little accomplishment to date, will fill out the rotation for now. But hey, youneverknow.

Matchups? Of course!

Fri Apr 8 - Berrios (12-9, 3.52) vs Gray (8-12, 4.59)
Sat Apr 9 - Gausman (14-6, 2.81) vs Dunning (5-10, 4.51)
Sun Apr 10 - Ryu (14-10, 4.37) vs Howard (0-3, 9.70)

Let's get this thing started. Play ball!