We hear it on every broadcast and on every pre /post game show, “The Blue Jays have been the hottest team in the majors since the trade deadline.” The Blue Jays were 45-46 in the first half before going 48-22 in the second half. Unfortunately, Texas made their own turnaround at the deadline, going 42-46 in the first half and 45-28 in the second. Pretty close numbers here! The Rangers improved through the acquisition of Cole Hamels, giving them a reliable number one starter while the injured Yu Darvish recovers from Tommy-John Surgery. The Rangers also got a boost from the rest of their roster returning to full health.
Both of these teams made stretch runs by beating teams in their division. Toronto took down the Yankees in their own stadium in a double-header and Texas swept the division-leading Astros in early September to take over their division lead for the first time. Although the Yankees did falter to the finish, they did not collapse as hard as Houston and the LA Angels did. Part of the Yankees faltering was because they played Toronto so many time in the second half. Against quality opponents in the second half Toronto went 21-6, while Texas went 15-11. Texas won the division games they had to in order to take over and maintain their division lead, but Houston and the Angels didn’t do much outside their division games to challenge Texas at all.
Although Toronto might be the hotter team than Texas walking in, they will be facing a team that is in a groove of their own. If Toronto had kept it up in the last two days with the Royals, facing either Houston or New York without their number one pitcher definitely would have been an advantage for the Jays.
Next: The Fans