3 keys for the Rangers to advance
ARLINGTON -- With one more victory needed to advance in the postseason heading into tonight's Game 3 (8 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1/Sportsnet), here are three keys for the Rangers as they try to close out the best-of-five American League Division Series against the Blue Jays.
1. Limit the damage: The Blue Jays have hit two home runs, but they were solo shots. The Blue Jays' big bats of Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki and Edwin Encarnacion have a combined 38 plate appearance in the ALDS but just 13 with runners on base. The Rangers' goal coming into the series was to limit the potential for those four to deliver game-changing blows. So far the Rangers have been successful, but they need to keep it up.
2. Find some muscle: The middle of the Rangers' lineup struggled in Toronto. Hitters in the Nos. 3-6 spots had a combined five singles in 35 at-bats with two RBIs. The Rangers' only extra-base hits have been two doubles from Delino DeShields and one home run each by Rougned Odor and Robinson Chirinos. What the Rangers have done well is go 6-for-16 with runners in scoring position. That's certainly a way to be successful, but it's not necessarily sustainable. The big thumpers need to get going.
3. Relentless relief: The Rangers' bullpen has been a huge factor this series. In 11 innings, Texas relievers have allowed one run on four hits and two walks with 12 strikeouts. The Blue Jays are hitting .108 off them. There can be no letup from the bullpen.