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Reply To: NLDS & ALDS – Previews, Articles, Info. Friday 10/9/15

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ALDS Doubleheader Betting Preview: Rangers at Blue Jays, Astros at Royals

Texas Rangers at Toronto Blue Jays (-175, 7.5)

Both teams might be missing their third basemen when the Toronto Blue Jays attempt to even the American League Division Series against the visiting Texas Rangers on Friday. Texas standout Adrian Beltre is unlikely to play due to a back injury and might be replaced on the roster, while MVP candidate Josh Donaldson of Toronto is questionable with a possible concussion.

Donaldson took a knee to the head while sliding into second base and felt lightheaded before leaving the Blue Jays’ 5-3 loss and later passed the concussion tests, so his availability will be based on how he feels Friday. “I’m not Josh Donaldson’s head,” Toronto catcher Russell Martin said when asked if he was concerned about Donaldson’s status. “I don’t know how he’s feeling. I hope it’s not too bad. He’s as tough as they get. If he can play, he will play.” Beltre departed in the third inning, when he barely managed to get to first base on a run-scoring single and was diagnosed with a lower back strain after undergoing an MRI exam at a nearby hospital. “Obviously, we want Adrian in there,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said of a player who has five career postseason homers. “He’s the heart and soul of this ball club.”

TV: 12:45 p.m. ET, MLBN, RSN (Toronto)

LINE HISTORY: Books opened the Jays in the -175 vicinity with the total coming down to 7.5 after opening at 8.

INJURY REPORT:

Rangers – 3B Adrian Beltre (Questionable, back).

Blue Jays – 3B Josh Donaldson (Questionable, head), RF Jose Bautista (Questionable, hamstring).

WHAT CAPPERS SAY: “Cole Hamels has some ugly numbers against Toronto going 0-2 with a 6.97 ERA and a WHIP of 1.935 in four career starts against them. The last one came in 2014 in Philadelphia when Hamels allowed five runs and 10 hits in six innings of work. Jose Bautista (3-9), Edwin Encarnacion (5-14), Russell Martin (5-18) and Troy Tulowitzki (5-15) all have good numbers against the southpaw who has not lost a start since Aug. 7. Marcus Stroman has won all four starts for the Blue Jays giving up five runs and 20 hits in 27 innings. Stroman beat the Rangers last year at home. Steve Merril.

PITCHING MATCHUP: Rangers LH Cole Hamels (13-8, 3.65 ERA) vs. Blue Jays RH Marcus Stroman (4-0, 1.67)

Hamels, who was acquired from Philadelphia with the playoff stage in mind, is 7-4 with a 3.09 ERA in 13 career postseason starts. He went 7-1 with a 3.66 ERA in 12 outings for Texas, which won each of his final 10 regular-season turns. Hamels has struggled against the Blue Jays, posting an 0-2 record and 6.97 ERA in four career starts.

Stroman suffered an ACL tear in his left knee in March but returned in September and won all four of his outings. The 24-year-old stands just 5-8, and people doubting him due to his size helped fuel the intensity with which he pitches. “I pitch with a lot of hate and anger and emotion in my heart – it’s just something that I’ve always kind of built myself on,” Stroman said at a press conference. “I’m just excited. I can’t wait to get out there. I wish I could put it in words.”

TRENDS:

* Rangers are 1-7 in their last eight games with umpire Victor Carapazza behind home plate.

* Rangers are 6-0 in their last six Divisional Playoff road games.

* Blue Jays are 5-0 in Stromans last five starts.

* Over is 6-0-1 in Hamels’ last seven starts overall.

Houston Astros at Kansas City Royals (OFF, OFF)

Johnny Cueto hasn’t lived up to expectations since being acquired by Kansas City, but the veteran has a chance to pay dividends when the Royals host the Houston Astros in Game 2 of the American League Division Series on Friday. Cueto, who was just 4-7 with a 4.76 ERA in 13 starts after being obtained from Cincinnati, will be aiming to help the Royals even the series at one win apiece.

Cueto will become a free agent after the season, so this may be his only chance at being a postseason hero for Kansas City. “I had never gone through something like that before,” Cueto said of his struggles at a press conference through translator Pedro Grifol, the Royals catching coach. “That season is over. This is a new season, and you’ll get to see what Johnny Cueto is all about.” Houston posted a 5-2 victory in Game 1 as Colby Ramsus and George Springer homered while Jose Altuve went 3-for-4 with an RBI. Rasmus also went deep in Tuesday’s wild-card victory over the New York Yankees and has hit eight blasts in his last 14 games.

TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, FS1

LINE HISTORY: N/A

INJURY REPORT: N/A

WEATHER: Temperatures in the mid-60s under partly cloudy skies. Wind will blow in from left field at around nine mph.

WHAT CAPPERS SAY: “Scott Kazmir gets the call in Game 2 of this series for Houston. The southpaw is 2-6 with a 3.86 ERA in 14 starts since the all-star break. Kazmir enters this one in terrible form sporting a 6.52 ERA in September. Johnny Cueto has righted the ship for the Royals allowing three runs or less in four straight games after a horrible stretch of 30 runs allowed over five starts.” Steve Merril.

PITCHING MATCHUP: Astros LH Scott Kazmir (7-11, 3.10 ERA) vs. Royals RH Johnny Cueto (11-13, 3.44)

Kazmir was winless in his last seven starts and is just 2-6 with a 4.17 ERA in 13 outings since being acquired from Oakland. “Just feels like a little rough patch that happened at a bad time,” Kazmir said during a press conference. “It was something where I feel like one or two pitches throughout any one of those games could have been a different outcome.” Kazmir is 5-8 with a 4.54 ERA in 20 career starts against Kansas City and has struggled against Eric Hosmer (9-for-23).

Cueto experienced a disastrous late-season stretch during which he had a 9.57 ERA while losing a career-worst five straight starts before going 2-1 with a 3.24 ERA over his final four outings. “There was a little concern that we couldn’t figure it out, but it didn’t worry us because we all knew we’d get it figured out by the time the playoffs started,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “And we did.” Cueto is 3-6 with a 3.64 ERA in 13 career starts versus the Astros and has served up two homers to Carlos Gomez.

TRENDS:

* Under is 4-0 in the last four meetings.

* Astros are 1-5 in Kazmirs last six road starts.

* Under is 4-0 in Astros last four road games.

* Over is 5-0 in Cuetos last five home starts.

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