The Rangers conclude their nine-game road trip with three against the Toronto Blue Jays this weekend at Rogers Centre. It’s the first time they’ve met since the Blue Jays swept the Rangers in the ALDS last October, the second consecutive season Toronto has eliminated Texas from the postseason.
The Rangers, who were swept by the Red Sox and are 2-4 on the current road trip, aren’t exactly returning to Toronto at a good time. Third baseman Josh Donaldson and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki return from long stints on the disabled list.
“You have your core guys,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbson told the Toronto Star. “If you’re going to do anything, you’re going to need those guys. I think everybody will be glad to see them.”
Perhaps not the Rangers.
The Blue Jays have won three straight and are 11-6 over the past two weeks. They’re 21-26, which is pretty respectable after starting 1-9.
The recent postseason history between the clubs lends an air of rivalry whenever they meet. Most of the key players remain although Edwin Encarnacion is now with the Indians.
“They fire us up a little bit,” Rangers’ Friday starter A.J. Griffin. “I haven’t been through the entire situation with the playoffs in 2015, but last year there was obviously some emotion going on. We’re ready to play against these guys. I’m looking forward to a fun series.”
Rangers manager Jeff Banister downplayed the rivalry.
“I think that’s more for spectators,” he said. “I don’t think our guys are thinking about anything like that.”
The Series details
Friday: RHP A.J. Griffin (4-1, 5.02) vs. RHP Mike Bolsinger (0-2, 6.32) 6:07 p.m. (TV: FSSW)
Saturday: RHP Yu Darvish (5-2, 2.83) vs. RHP Marco Estrada (3-2, 3.30) 12:07 p.m. (TV: FSSW and MLB Network)
Sunday: RHP Andrew Cashner (1-4, 3.18) vs. RHP Joe Biagini (1-2, 3.75) 12:07 p.m. (TV: FSSW and MLB Network)