Padilla (7-5, 4.47 ERA) has been one of the few bright spots recently for the Rangers (42-42), whose 3-2 loss Wednesday was their sixth in the last eight games. The right-hander has one of the two wins for Texas in that span and is coming off a strong effort Friday against Houston, which he limited to one run and four hits in eight innings of a 3-1 win.
Padilla, who is 4-2 in his last nine starts, threw 79 of season-high 111 pitches for strikes against the Astros, featuring a fastball that’s proving pivotal to his success.
“The key to Vicente is his fastball,” Rangers catcher Rod Barajas said. “It’s his best pitch and when he’s on and he is locating, he can be very tough. (Last Friday), he located it, whether up or down or on both sides of the plate.”
Padilla is making his first-ever start against the Blue Jays.
The Rangers have won 15 of the last 19 games against Toronto (47-36), including 12 of 15 at home.
With its Monday win, Texas has a chance to win a series for the first time since sweeping the Arizona Diamondbacks from June 16-18.
Toronto’s win Tuesday ended a five-game losing streak at Texas, and it was the seventh win in the last nine games for the Blue Jays.
“I don’t know (why), but it’s been a nightmare here for us,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “It really has. They always have powerhouse offenses. I don’t know. We lost three to the (Florida) Marlins (June 16-18). Maybe it’s the heat.”
Blue Jays rookie right-hander Casey Janssen (6-6, 4.38) will oppose Padilla. Like the Rangers starter, Janssen is seeking a second straight win while making his first start against the Rangers.
Janssen ended a personal three-game losing streak Friday against the Philadelphia Phillies, scattering five hits and two walks in six scoreless innings of an 8-1 victory.
“It feels a lot better talking (to media) now,” Janssen said after the win. “After the last few (games), it got old losing, especially with the team playing the way they are. You don’t want to let them down. You want to keep this thing going as long as you can. So, yeah, it feels really good.”
Janssen, who has a 1.78 ERA in his six victories, went 0-3 with a 12.41 ERA while allowing 27 hits in 12 1-3 innings before Friday’s win. He credited adjustments made after watching video footage of himself as a key to beating the Phillies.
“I was collapsing my back side a little bit,” Janssen said. “It kind of flattened out my ball a little bit. It flattened out my plane of trajectory. Who knows if that was the only thing, but it was definitely something.”