American League Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, May 7th
(All times eastern)
Texas Rangers (36-23) at Toronto Blue Jays (25-34) 7:07 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Texas - Nick Tepesch (3-4, 3.44)
Toronto - Esmil Rogers (1-2, 3.77)
(Sports Network) - The Texas Rangers pay a visit to Rogers Centre on Friday to
open a three-game set with the Toronto Blue Jays, in what is the first of
seven meetings over the next 10 days between the two teams.
The Rangers entered the day with a half-game lead over Oakland in the AL West.
They dropped two out of three in Boston after falling in Thursday's series
finale, 6-3. Texas coughed up a 3-0 lead and eventually lost on David Ortiz's
three-run, walkoff home run. Starter Derek Holland pitched six innings and
gave up two runs.
Hot-hitting Adrian Beltre will likely fill the designated hitter slot for this
series, given Toronto's artificial surface and the third baseman's tender left
hamstring. Beltre, who went 3-for-4 with a home run on Thursday, is hitting at
a .435 clip with four home runs and eight RBIs during an 11-game hitting
Manager Ron Washington could turn to utility infielder Leury Garcia to man the
hot corner for the series.
"One thing about Leury is he can catch the ball," Washington said. "You hit it
to him, he'll catch the ball ... and he will throw it. It may end up in the
stands, but he'll throw it."
This marks the Blue Jays' only pit stop at Rogers Centre in a stretch that
will see them play 11 of 14 on the road. After suffering a two-game sweep in
San Diego over the weekend, they traveled to San Francisco and took two out of
three from the Giants.
"It seems like we've been gone a couple of weeks," manager John Gibbons said
after Wednesday's 4-0 victory. "With an off-day (Thursday), it'll be big. The
guys can use it, especially since we're coming off the West Coast."
R.A. Dickey was the key figure in Wednesday's win, as he allowed only two hits
and came two outs short of his first shutout with the Blue Jays.
Toronto's rotation has been hit hard by injuries. Esmil Rogers will move from
the bullpen to start Friday's series opener. His first start since 2011 came
on May 29 against Atlanta, and he held the Braves scoreless in 3 1/3 innings.
The Blue Jays hope Rogers can pitch deeper into the game this time around.
Meanwhile, Rangers rookie starter Nick Tepesch will hope for some more run
support than he has gotten of late. The right-hander is winless over his last
three starts despite a 2.12 ERA in that span, as the offense has totaled only
five runs. Against Kansas City on Saturday, Tepesch gave up just one unearned
run in 6 1/3 innings and did not issue a walk.
This marks the first meeting of the season between these two teams, although
they will be plenty familiar with one another after the next 10 days. Texas
won two of three in its last visit to Toronto from Aug. 17-19.
06/07 10:25:22 ET