Friday night baseball and we will see the Texas Rangers travel north of the border to take on the Toronto Blue Jays in game 1 of their 3 game series. The game is scheduled for a 7:05 (ET) pm start time and it will be televised live on KTXA (Texas) and RSN (Toronto). Currently the odds have Texas favored at -165, while Toronto is dogs of +155. The total for the game sits at 9 runs.
Free Analysis: The Texas Rangers have a comfortable lead in the American League West - but they're far from satisfied. Getting Yu Darvish back on track is among the Rangers' concerns, and the Japanese right-hander will get his first crack at turning things around Friday night as he leads Texas into a weekend series against the host Toronto Blue Jays. The Rangers avoided a four-game sweep at Yankee Stadium, claiming the series finale 10-6 Thursday afternoon. The double-digit outburst came at a pivotal time for the Rangers, who lead the majors in runs but crossed the plate just four times in the first three games of the series. Darvish has been dreadful since the All-Star Break but his slide hasn't hurt the Rangers, who enter Friday's action with a six-game lead over runner-up Oakland. Darvish (12-8, 4.54 ERA) has his first opportunity to set a Rangers rookie record for victories. The right-hander has been uneven since the All-Star break but grinded out a win Sunday against Detroit, allowing three runs while walking five in 6 2-3 innings as he gave up fewer than six runs for the first time in four starts. High pitch counts have been the norm for Darvish, who is tied for the AL lead with 79 walks and has logged 110 or more pitches in 14 of 22 starts. He has beaten Toronto twice this year, including an efficient 97-pitch effort at Rogers Centre on April 30 when he limited the Blue Jays to one run while striking out nine in seven innings of a 4-1 win. Darvish, who joined Chris Young (2005), Kevin Brown (1989) and Ed Correa (1986) as the team's other rookie 12-game winners, posted his other victory over Toronto at home May 27 after allowing three runs in five innings. Ian Kinsler will be looking to end a 4-for-35 slump over his last nine games. The second baseman, though, is a .183 hitter in 27 games at Rogers Centre with 25 strikeouts in 109 at-bats. He is also hitless in two at-bats versus Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ (1-1, 6.35), who appears to have settled in after being acquired in a 10-player trade from Houston on July 20. The left-hander got his first win with the Blue Jays on Sunday, giving up four runs in 5 2-3 innings of a 10-7 victory over the Yankees. The injury-ravaged Blue Jays (55-63) have faded from playoff contention, dropping the final three of a four-game set with Chicago after Thursday's 7-2 loss. Toronto has lost 14 of 18, scoring only 53 runs as it scuffles without regulars Jose Bautista and Brett Lawrie. Additionally, Edwin Encarnacion - leading Toronto with 30 homers and 80 RBIs - is day-to-day after sitting out Thursday with shoulder and wrist pain.
Free Pick: After coming off 10 games vs the Yanks Tigers and BoSox, you can bet that the Rangers will be a bit spent, especially on offense and that has me looking to the Under in this one. Before yesterdays 10 run outburst the Rangers had scored just 4 runs in their previous 3 games, while in their last 10 games overall they have averaged 4.4 rpg, plus Texas has average just 3.7 rpg on the road when Darvish pitches. Toronto has had some big injuries and it's starting to take it's toll on them as they have averaged just 3.2 rpg in their last 10. They do put up 4.97 rpg at home, but just 4 rpg in their first 7 games of this homestand thus far.Yu Darvish has strugled of late, but in 2 starts vs the Jays this year he has a 3.00 ERA. J.A. Happ has allowed 4 ER's in both his starts for the Jays this year, but I feel he can keep a drained Texas offense down enough for this game to come under the total.
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