Major League Baseball
Preview
Texas at Toronto
When: 7:07 PM ET, Friday, May 26, 2017
Where: Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario

The Toronto Blue Jays are far from a completely healthy team, but they are hopeful they will get the left side of their infield back just in time to get thrown into the fire of their recent rivalry with the Texas Rangers. Following their first winning road trip of the season, the Blue Jays look to continue their recent improved play Friday when they begin a 10-game homestand with the first of three against Texas.

Some of the bad blood in this series stems from Toronto eliminating Texas in the American League Divisional Series in each of the last two seasons, but perhaps no single action captures the tenor of the disdain both teams have for each other more than Rougned Odor punching Jose Bautista in the jaw for an aggressive slide the last time these teams met in the regular season last season. "You want to go out and win every game, but they fire us up a little bit. There are some obvious emotions that get people fired up. We are looking forward to a fun series," Friday starter A.J. Griffin told MLB.com. The Blue Jays, who are 15-9 since their dreadful 6-17 start, are optimistic shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (hamstring) and third baseman Josh Donaldson (calf) will both come off the disabled list in time for the opener. The Rangers overcame their own miserable start by winning 10 straight from May 9-19 but are 1-4 since, and they fell to 5-16 over their last 21 road contests after getting swept in Boston.

TV: 7:07 p.m. ET, FSN Southwest (Texas), Sportsnet One (Toronto)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Rangers RH A.J. Griffin (4-1, 5.02 ERA) vs. Blue Jays RH Mike Bolsinger (0-2, 6.32)

Griffin led Texas to victories in each of his first six starts, but that streak came to an emphatic end Saturday at Detroit, surrendering career highs in earned runs (nine) and homers (four) over 3 1/3 innings. Since authoring his second career shutout May 9 to cap a four-outing stretch in which he went 4-0 with a 1.38 ERA, the 29-year-old is 0-1 with a 14.05 ERA in his last two turns. Griffin has performed well in five career starts versus the Blue Jays, going 2-0 with a 2.39 ERA and 1.06 WHIP.

Bolsinger, who hasn't earned a victory in over a year, saw his winless streak extended to seven turns Saturday in Baltimore, settling for a no-decision after getting tagged for four runs on six hits and five walks in 5 1/3 frames. The Arkansas alum has yet to complete six innings despite throwing at least 92 pitches in each of his three outings, issuing 11 free passes over 15 2/3 innings. Jonathan Lucroy (3-for-7, one homer) is the only healthy Texas hitter to ever face Bolsinger, who will face the Rangers for the first time.

WALK-OFFS

1. Blue Jays 1B Justin Smoak's 13 homers versus the Rangers are his second-most against any opponent, while his .292 average versus his former team is his highest mark against any AL foe.

2. Texas struck out 20 times in Thursday's series finale with Boston - one shy of a club record and two fewer strikeouts than it recorded over the previous four games combined.

3. Tulowitzki and Donaldson have played a total of 25 games in 2017 after the duo combined to miss 38 last season.

PREDICTION: Rangers 6, Blue Jays 4
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Texas 24-24 L3 16-8 8-16 0-3 7-6 11-14 6-1
Toronto 21-26 W3 10-11 11-15 9-16 2-1 6-2 4-7
Last Meeting
Texas Toronto
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
10/9/16 TEX 6 TOR 7 x .118 2 .534 .270 2 .855
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Texas N/A
Toronto N/A
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Texas H. Alberto 0 0 0
Toronto A. Alford 0 0 0
Pitching ERA Avg K
Texas 0.00 .000 0
Toronto 0.00 .000 0
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Texas N. Mazara .274 45 .798
Toronto K. Pillar .303 56 .845
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Texas J. Gallo 14 31 31
Toronto J. Smoak 10 24 29
Pitching ERA Avg K
Texas 4.23 .237 325
Toronto 4.20 .239 413