Game 1 in their American League Division Series vs the Rangers wasn’t the worst possible outcome for the Blue Jays, but it was close. Their hired gun David Price underperformed on the mound, while their two best hitters, Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista, left the game due to injuries. In a must win game, the Jays will send 24-year-old Marcus Stroman to hill. Stroman has been excellent since returning from a torn ACL on September 12, posting a 1.67 ERA and four wins in 27 innings pitched.
The Rangers will counter with their big trade deadline acquisition, Cole Hamels. Since coming over to the American League, Hamels has gone 7-1 in 12 starts for the Rangers. In 13 career playoff starts, Hamels has a 7-4 record with a 3.09 ERA. He’s been especially sharp in division series starts, allowing seven total runs in five starts while averaging 9.9 strikeouts over nine innings.
The current Rangers lineup doesn’t have a lot of experience vs Stroman, only combining for 21 total at bats. In those 21 at bats, Stroman has been dominant, only allowing two hits and no walks. The Blue Jays have fared much better vs Hamels. In 70 at bats they’ve combined for a .314 batting average.
Hamels is 0-4 in career vs Toronto in four starts, and he’s only been a larger underdog once in his career (+192), which came this summer in his last start as a member of the Phillies.