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The Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays are locked into a tough battle for the AL Wild Card positions. Both teams enter this game currently occupying two of those three spots, but with competition lurking right behind them, their margin for error is still slim to none. On Tuesday night, they face off in a game both teams need to get in order to help their playoff chances.
The Texas Rangers come into Tuesday barely hanging onto the third Wild Card spot in the American League. They are a half-game ahead of the Seattle Mariners for that final spot and a half-game behind the Blue Jays for the second spot. That means a win on Tuesday would move them into the second Wild Card position, while a loss could move them out of the top three entirely.
To avoid falling out of the top three in the Wild Card race, the Rangers will hope for a great showing from Max Scherzer. Scherzer comes into this game with a record of 12-6 and an ERA of 3.91, which is an improvement from his numbers from when he was a member of the New York Mets. Texas brought Scherzer in for moments just like this one, and he simply needs to deliver in this spot as a result.
However, if the Rangers hit like they did on Monday night in this game, they might not have to do anything too special on the mound. Texas scored 10 runs against the Blue Jays in their meeting on Monday, running away with that game with some clutch hits from Jonah Heim, including a grand slam. They will hope for a similar showing today to provide some much-needed run support for Scherzer.
The Toronto Blue Jays enter Tuesday’s action a game clear of the Seattle Mariners, who sit in fourth place in the AL Wild Card standings. If the Blue Jays can deliver a win on Tuesday at home, they could extend that lead, along with their lead over the third-place Rangers. But a loss could put them in jeopardy of being in a tie with the Mariners for the final Wild Card spot by the end of the day.
Toronto is sending Hyun Jin Ryu to the mound for this game, as they hope to keep Texas from scoring 10 runs for the second straight night. Ryu is just 3-2 this season, as he has only pitched 34 innings due to injuries. But in those 34 innings, he has been effective, posting an ERA of 2.65 and only walking eight batters so far. His control will once again be a huge key to this game for the Jays.
The offense for Toronto also has to be better than it was in the opening game of this series. Despite Toronto’s reputation for offensive fireworks, they rank just 16th in the league in runs scored and need more production down the stretch from bats like Vlad Guerrero Jr., who only has 21 home runs on the season despite his tremendous power. If that uptick in production would start tonight for the Blue Jays, it would help them to get a huge win at home for their Wild Card hopes.
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Jay Sanin is a sports bettor and writer from New York. He has been handicapping since the moment he was old enough to gamble legally, with his specialties being niche sports like the WNBA and XFL. He’s been told he has a voice for radio. He also has a face for radio.More info on Jay Sanin
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