The American League Division Series gets underway Thursday, and fans can watch Game 1 of the high-powered Texas Rangers vs. Toronto Blue Jays best-of-five playoff live online, to see what promises to be a slugfest between two of the AL's highest-powered offenses. Thursday's Game 1 will also be the first postseason Major League Baseball game played in Canada since October 23, 1993.
That year was the final season before baseball instituted the three-division, Wild Card system in each league. Since 1993, not only have the Blue Jays failed to return to the postseason, they have finished higher than third place in the AL East just once, in 2006, and never won more than 87 games in a season — until now.
In 2015, the Blue Jays used the league's most explosive offense to rack up 93 wins and an AL East division title, averaging an astonishing 5.5 runs per game, leading the Major Leagues.
The Rangers averaged almost a full run per game less than Toronto — 4.64 runs per game — but that was still good enough for third-best in the Majors.
But both teams jumped into the trade deadline market and made big pitching acquisitions — the Blue Jays picking up lefty Cy Young candidate David Price, who went on to win nine games while losing just one for the Blue Jays with a 2.30 ERA, and the Rangers grabbing another veteran southpaw, Cole Hamels, from the Philadelphia Phillies.
Hamels went 7-1 with a 3.66 ERA in his 12 starts with Texas. But there's one big difference. Toronto Manager John Gibbons was able to set up his rotation so that Price is able to start Game 1 on Thursday.
Rangers Skipper Jeff Banister pitched Hamels on schedule, allowing him to throw a complete game on the final day of the season, meaning he won't be available until Game 2. If the series goes to a deciding fifth game, Hamels will pitch, and that could give the Rangers an advantage. But with Price on the mound for the opener, the series may never reach Game 5.
To find out how to watch the Texas Rangers vs. Toronto Blue Jays American League Division Series Game 1 live online, see the streaming information in the final paragraph of this article. First pitch is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time, 12:30 p.m. Pacific, on Thursday, October 8, at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Facing Price, the Rangers send 29-year-old veteran Yovani Gallardo to the hill. Gallardo beat the Blue Jays twice in two tries this season, holding the dominant Toronto offense scoreless in 13 innings.
The Blue Jays high-octane offense is led by MVP favorite Josh Donaldson — but the "10th player" on the field — the fired-up Rogers Centre crowd — could be the difference in this game.
"It can turn 95 [mph] into 96... It can make that hitter get to that pitcher's pitch. It pumps you up. I mean, everybody out there tomorrow's going to have adrenaline, but it will take it to that next level. And it's a big factor."Can the Toronto Blue Jays win their first postseason game in 22 years? Or will the Texas Rangers manage to get to the Toronto ace David Price and grab an early advantage in the five-game series? To find out, watch the Texas Rangers vs. Toronto Blue Jays American League Division Series Game 1 live online from Toronto by going to Fox Sports Go at this link, or downloading the Fox Sports Go app to watch on mobile devices. Fox Sports Go also streams live on the Amazon Fire TV device, allowing fans to watch the Rangers vs. Blue Jays game live online on their TV sets.
[Images: Sarah Crabill / Tom Pennington / Ronald Martinez / Getty Images]