The Blue Jays look to continue their production at the plate and extend their recent dominance of the slumping Rangers when the teams meet for a two-game set on Wednesday in Toronto.
Toronto (8-6) ranks among the league’s leaders with a .282 batting average, and hit .331 with 30 RBIs as it went 4-1 on a five-game road swing.
The Blue Jays are coming off of their best effort in that stretch, posting season highs in runs and hits with an 11-3 rout of Baltimore on Tuesday in which they had 16 hits.
“It was a great day. We did everything,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “We pitched pretty well and we hit. We had some good at-bats. (Tuesday night), we had a little bit of everything.”
Toronto also hit well against the Rangers (5-9) last weekend, batting .321 and outscoring them 17-10 in a three-game sweep at Texas, its first there since April 26-28, 1985.
The Blue Jays, who have won six straight over the Rangers dating to last season, last won seven in a row against them from Aug. 26, 2000-May 19, 2001. Toronto will try to match that mark as it opens a six-game homestand at the Rogers Centre, where it currently has a three-game losing streak.
But playing in Toronto has been just as problematic for the Rangers, who look to avoid losing six straight there for the first time since April 19-July 24, 1994.
The Rangers are also mired in a five-game losing streak that was capped by Tuesday’s 7-4 defeat to the Los Angeles Angels. Michael Young went 3-for-5 with an RBI for the Rangers, who are off to their worst start since going 5-11 to open 2002.
“We just played five bad baseball games,” Rangers manager Ron Washington told the team’s official Web site. “Whatever bad could happen, it happened. Whatever mistakes could be made, we made them, physically and mentally. But the only way to get out of this funk is to play ourselves out of it.”
Young has hit .343 (81-for-236) with eight homers and 33 RBIs in 58 career games against the Blue Jays, who hand the ball to right-hander Jesse Litsch (2-0, 3.38 ERA).
In his last outing, Litsch allowed two runs and six hits in 5 2-3 innings of Friday’s 8-5 win in Texas—his lone career game against the Rangers.
The Rangers counter with Kason Gabbard (1-0, 2.13), who gave up three runs and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings, but did not receive a decision in a 5-4 home win over Baltimore on Thursday.
The left-hander will be making his second career appearance against the Blue Jays. He allowed two runs, but also struck out two in 2 2-3 innings of relief in a 13-4 loss at Toronto on Sept. 24, 2006, while playing for Boston.
Blue Jays center fielder Vernon Wells, who added an RBI on Tuesday, has recorded three consecutive multihit games and is batting .345 with three homers and 14 RBIs. He went 5-for-14 against the Rangers last weekend and is hitting .287 with five homers and 36 RBIs lifetime against them.