The Toronto Blue Jays (24-21) and Texas Rangers (27-18) will open up a three-game American League series on Friday night at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, with the first pitch scheduled for 8:05 ET

Toronto Blue Jays at Texas Rangers

Toronto Blue Jays OF Jose Bautista has been swinging a hot bat over the past 13 games

Toronto dropped two of three against the Tampa Bay Rays to open up its six-game road trip, including a 5-4 setback on Wednesday afternoon.  The Blue Jays have been happy with the recent play of star outfielder Jose Bautista, who is batting .346 with seven home runs and 14 RBI over his last 13 games, which has helped the club plate 48 runs over its last eight contests.  Toronto is 3-2 as a road underdog of +100 to +125 this season, with the “under” going 3-2 in that situation.

Blue Jays starting pitcher Brandon Morrow (5-2, 2.63 ERA) has tallied wins in five of his last six outings, coming off a 2-0 shutout victory over the New York Mets at home, scattering just three hits and striking out eight.  The right-hander enters with a perfect 3-0 record and 0.63 ERA in four road outings, as opponents are hitting just .156 against him.  In 17 career games (five starts) versus the Rangers, Morrow is 4-4 with a 4.01 ERA, which includes a 1-0 mark and 2.77 ERA in two efforts in 2011.

Texas has alternated wins and losses over its last nine games, dropping a 5-3 decision to the Seattle Mariners to end a six-game road trip on Wednesday night.  “We’re not swinging the bats the way we’re capable of right now,” commented Rangers designated hitter Michael Young.  The Rangers are hitting just .243 and averaging 3.5 runs over the last 10 games, but still lead the majors in both of those categories for the entire year.  Texas is 13-3 following a loss this season.

Rangers starting pitcher Derek Holland (3-3, 4.27 ERA) has thrown the ball better in the month of May despite winning just one game in four appearances (three starts), posting a 2.79 ERA that is nearly 2.5 runs better than what he finished with in April (5.13).  The left-hander is 1-2 with a 5.60 ERA in five home outings (four starts), issuing nine walks and striking out 22 in 27.1 frames.  In five lifetime appearances (four starts) versus the Blue Jays, Holland has registered a 2-1 record and 5.55 ERA, which includes a 3-0 shutout in Toronto on July 30 of last year.

Bettors will likely back the Rangers due to their 11-4 record in Holland’s last 15 home starts, while the Blue Jays are 0-4 on the road against left-handed starters.

Pick: Texas Rangers -132

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