The Texas Rangers vs. Toronto Blue Jays American League Division Series is down to one deciding game, and Major League Baseball fans can watch that Game 5 live online as the Rangers look to their marquee trade deadline acquisition, three-time All-Star lefthander Cole Hamels, to nail down the third trip to the American League Championship Series in the last six years.
But the Toronto Blue Jays, by virtue of winning 93 games in the 2015 regular season, have the advantage of playing on their own home field as they attempt to win their first playoff series after a 21-year absence from the MLB postseason. The last time the Blue Jays were in the postseason, they won the World Series — in 1993.
Of course, in this AL Division Series, home field may not be an advantage at all. The visiting team has won all four games so far. Toronto fell behind by losing Games 1 and 2 at home, but then took both games played in Texas to even the best-of-five series and force Game 5 back in Toronto.
The Blue Jays will have to defeat not only Hamels and the Rangers to get themselves back to the ALCS and have a chance of another trip to the World Series, they will have to overcome history, as well. In the history of best-of-five playoff series, going back to 1969 when divisional play and the playoff system were introduced, 29 teams have lost their first two games at home.
Of those, only two — just under seven percent — have gone on to win the series.
“We said from the very beginning, it’s about winning three games in a series. It doesn’t matter how you do it, what order you do it in but it’s the first of three,” said Toronto outfielder Kevin Pillar.
“We’re still here. We still have an opportunity to make it happen.”
Pillar leads all hitter in the series with seven base knocks, including a home run, in the first four games.
To find out how to watch the dramatic Texas Rangers vs. Toronto Blue Jays ALDS Game 5 live online, see the streaming link in the final paragraph of this article. Game time is set for 4 p.m. Eastern Time, 1 p.m. Pacific, on Wednesday, October 14, at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
The Blue Jays are counting on 24-year-old, second-year righthander Marcus Stroman to keep their season going — even though Stroman, the Blue Jays first-round draft pick, 22nd overall, in 2012, missed most of the 2015 season with a torn knee ligament he suffered way back in spring training.
But in the four games he did pitch in the 2015 regular season, Stroman won them all, posting a 1.67 ERA in his 27 innings pitched. He also pitched in Game 2 of the AL Division Series, getting no decision in the Blue Jays 6-4 loss.
Stroman doesn’t have much history against this Rangers lineup, with no Texas batter getting more than six plate appearances against the youngster out of Duke University.
Toronto batters have more experience against Hamels — but not a lot of success. Troy Tulowitzki has faced Hamels 25 times with just five hits. But two of those hits were home runs, and another was a triple. Edwin Encarnacion also has a homer and five hits in 19 plate appearances against Hamels.
Can the Toronto Blue Jays win their first playoff series after a 21-year absence from the Major League Baseball postseason? Or can the Texas Rangers nail down their third trip to the AL Championship Series, and first since 2011? To find out, watch the Toronto Blue Jays vs. Texas Rangers American League Division Series Game 5 live online from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 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.
[Featured Image: Tom Pennington / Getty Images]