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Blue Jays/Rangers

Texas looks to bounce back from a Game 1 shellacking with their second ace, right-hander Yu Darvish, on the mound. Toronto looks to bring a commanding 2-0 lead back home and try to finish the series Sunday.

Toronto Blue Jays (J.A. Happ) at Texas Rangers (Yu Darvish), 1:00 PM ET

PECOTA odds of winning: 57% Rangers, 43% Blue Jays

Projected Starting Lineups

Blue Jays vs. Darvish (R)

Rangers vs. Happ (L)

Devon Travis (R) 2B

Carlos Gomez (R) LF

Josh Donaldson (R) 3B

Ian Desmond (R) CF

Edwin Encarnacion (R) 1B

Carlos Beltran (S) DH

Jose Bautista (R) RF

Adrian Beltre (R) 3B

Russell Martin (R) C

Rougned Odor (L) 2B

Troy Tulowitzki (R) SS

Jonathan Lucroy (R) C

Michael Saunders (L) DH

Ryan Rua (R) 1B

Kevin Pillar (R) CF

Elvis Andrus (R) SS

Ezequiel Carrera (L) LF

Nomar Mazara (L) RF

Injuries/Availability

Cole Hamels' abbreviated Game 1 start meant Rangers manager Jeff Banister had to turn to his bullpen for 5.2 innings, but he saved his big guns in a blowout loss and only left-handers Alex Claudio and Jake Diekman might be unavailable for Game 2.

Marco Estrada's brilliant Game 1 start allowed the Blue Jays to use just one reliever, low-leverage right-hander Ryan Tepera, so in theory the full Toronto bullpen is available. However, closer Roberto Osuna remains a question mark due to the shoulder injury that forced him from the Wild Card game, potentially leaving Jason Grilli in line for ninth-inning duties.

Melvin Upton, who homered off Hamels in Game 1, figures to slide back to the bench with a right-hander on the mound, giving way to quasi-platoon mate Michael Saunders as Blue Jays manager John Gibbons tries to add some semblance of left-handed hitting to the righty-dominated lineup.

Texas makes a pair of lineup changes, adding Ryan Rua and Nomar Mazara and benching lefties Mitch Moreland and Shin-Soo Choo.

Outlook

Toronto already handled one Texas ace with ease, taking advantage of Hamels' surprising inability to trust his changeup to tag him for seven runs. Darvish is a whole different beast, with much more overpowering raw stuff coming from the right side. He thrived returning from Tommy John elbow surgery, posting a 3.41 ERA/2.56 DRA with 132 strikeouts in 100 innings, and struck out 12 in his final outing of the regular season. Of course, Texas also had an on-paper pitching advantage in Game 1 and it mattered little.

J.A. Happ won 20 games with a 3.18 ERA this season and will probably finish among the top five in the Cy Young voting, but he's also a 33-year-old journeyman with a 4.00 career ERA and his secondary numbers (7.5 SO/9, 2.8 BB/9, 4.42 DRA) suggest he was extremely fortunate in nearly every respect this year. If the Rangers' veteran right-handed hitters can't get to him early and often, perhaps they don't deserve to win this series.

Seemingly everything is lined up for Texas to even the series–sure enough, PECOTA sees the Rangers as 57 percent favorites in Game 2–so if Toronto beats up another ace and gets another strong pitching performance from a lesser starter it might be time to start prepping for the ALCS.

Red Sox/Indians

After a mostly-disappointing, oft-criticized first season in Boston, left-hander David Price takes the mound with the Red Sox down 1-0. Cleveland patched together a Game 1 win behind manager Terry Francona's bold moves and the bullpen's brilliance, and now the Indians turn to ace Corey Kluber in Game 2 with a relief corps that could use a light workload.

Boston Red Sox (David Price) at Cleveland Indians (Corey Kluber), 4:30 PM ET

PECOTA odds of winning: Indians 59%, Red Sox 41%

Projected Starting Lineups

Red Sox vs. Kluber (R)

Indians vs. Price (L)

Dustin Pedroia (R), 2B

Rajai Davis (R), CF

Brock Holt (L), 3B

Jason Kipnis (L), 2B

Mookie Betts (R), RF

Francisco Lindor (S), SS

David Ortiz (L), DH

Mike Napoli (R), DH

Hanley Ramirez (R), 1B

Carlos Santana (S), 1B

Xander Bogaerts (R), SS

Jose Ramirez (S), 3B

Jackie Bradley (L), CF

Brandon Guyer (R), RF

Sandy Leon (S), C

Coco Crisp (S), LF

Andrew Benintendi (L), LF

Roberto Perez (R), C

Injuries/Availability

Francona did everything he could to win Game 1 and got the job done, but now he's short-handed for Game 2. Andrew Miller and Cody Allen each threw a season-high 40 pitches, meaning one or both of the Indians' top two relievers could be unavailable. Kluber completed seven or more innings in 19 of 32 starts this season, although he did so in neither of his final two starts.

Clearly the Indians would love to get a lengthy outing for Kluber and give Francona a chance to handle the late-inning bullpen usage more traditionally, but working deep into a game against the Red Sox's lineup is never a sure thing. Assuming that Miller and Allen are both unavailable, or at least limited, the Indians' next-best bullpen options are Bryan Shaw, Dan Otero, and Jeff Manship.

Price pitched much better than his 3.99 ERA suggests, leading the league with 230 innings and posting a 228/50 K/BB ratio with a 2.90 DRA. None of that will matter much to Red Sox fans if the $217 million ace can't come up big in Game 2 and he's famously struggled in the playoffs throughout his career, going 2-7 with a 5.14 ERA. Whereas the Indians will give Kluber every chance to work through issues, expect the Red Sox to have Price on a relatively short leash.

Price taking the mound likely means Francona will go into platoon mode, bringing right-handed hitters Rajai Davis and Brandon Guyer off the bench to replace Tyler Naquin and Lonnie Chisenhall. Switch-hitter Abraham Almonte would also have been a platoon option in a matchup like this one, but he's ineligible for the playoffs.

Outlook

Kluber vs. Price certainly has a Game 1 vibe, matching up a pair of former Cy Young winners. PECOTA sees Cleveland as a sizable favorite, but I'd take those odds down a notch or two because of Francona being without the Miller/Allen hammer in the late innings. Ultimately, this game comes down to Boston getting production from a lineup that has thrived all season and getting a strong pitching performance from a pitcher they're paying like a superstar.

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aquavator44
10/08
Mazara hits from the left side, too, so maybe the Rangers just prefer him over Choo in this game?