World Series Legend Joe Carter took the last postseason pitch the Blue Jays have seen and turned the City of Toronto into Mardi Gras.
Twenty-two years later, the Jays and Toronto get their first postseason action since that night in ’93. Its safe to say that Toronto is starved for playoff baseball, and that the crowd at Rogers Centre will be deafening this afternoon.
The Rangers probably aren’t feeling that sentimental about ’93 today, and they’ve got their own drought to worry about. The Texas Rangers have never won a World Series. They’ve been there a couple of times in ’10 and ’11, and they’ll start this year’s run with some familiar faces from those teams. Mike Napoli, Josh Hamilton are reunited after some time away, along with mainstays Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre. Big Bad Prince Fielder anchors the lineup in his first postseason action for the Rangers.
At face value, this series should be the highest scoring of the playoffs, lining up the two worst pitching staffs still standing with the two best lineups. And after the one-sided Wildcard affairs, WPW is ready for some fireworks.
Here’s the divisional edition of our patented Arbitrary and Biased breakdowns, Rangers-Jays.
Players in this series who follow WPW:
- Robinson Chirinos
- Leonys Martin
- Jose Bautista
- Edwin Encarnacion
- Marcus Stroman
- Aaron Sanchez
- Russell Martin
They don’t exactly match up as they should. David Price and Cole Hamels are the deadline blockbuster staff aces, though they won’t match up in this series (Yovani Gallardo gets the ball today vs Price). Hamels has gone 7-1 since joining the Rangers, while Price has gone 9-1 with the Jays.
Price is in another stratosphere pitching-wise as well as the swag factor. J’s for days. Hamels looks like he might strike you out and write a sad acoustic song about it.
Marcus Stroman vs Colby Lewis’ beer gut is a style mismatch, but Lewis sports a svelte 2.34 postseason ERA, and that looks good on anyone.
Still, Price and Stroman carry this group.
Edge: Blue Jays
Chirinos vs Martin
Our first matchup of WPW followers, Robinson Chirinos and Russell Martin are both “Look good, feel good, play good” kinda guys.
Its just really tough to argue Martin’s credentials. This dude is so freaking good at baseball and yet his kick game is probably his best asset. He’s basically keeping Custom Cleats Inc in business with the amount of basketball shoes he’s converted to cleats.
Chirinos gets it, but Martin, like his battery mate D. Price, is just on another level.
Edge: Blue Jays
Napoli vs Smoak
Mike Napoli, playoff legend, came within inches of carrying the Rangers to their first World Series victory vs the Cardinals with 10, I repeat, TEN RBI back in 2011. He took a little siesta from the Arlington summers and won a ‘ship up in Boston in ’13, but the lumberjack is back and he finds himself in the middle of an explosive lineup.
Napoli (above) likes the NB 3000v2s, and since his time in Boston, New Balance has been taking great care of him. You can see the turfs from while he was in Boston, and he’s still rocking the reds in Texas.
Former Rangers 1st rounder Justin Smoak has a lot of catching up to do in this matchup.
Odor vs Goins
Rougned Odor has a great custom glove role model in Elvis Andrus, both rocking some of the most colorful Wilson customs in the Big Leagues.
Ryan Goins also makes it look good. Nike swag that won’t quit, especially those 2KFilth red/white/blues that he’s been wearing lately.
This one’s too close to call.
Beltre vs Donaldson
The matchup that may determine the series, Josh Donaldson, the surefire AL MVP vs Adrian Beltre, the surefire Hall of Famer.
Donaldson’s new school Vapor Elite 3.0s vs Beltre’s throwback MVP Elite Pros.
Donaldson’s Pro Preferred PRONP5…
…vs Beltre’s Heart of the Hide PRONPTLB…
Donaldson’s outrageous Nike collection…
…vs Beltre’s outrageous Nike collection.
How on Earth do you call this one? Picking one of these guys is like picking between lobster and filet mignon. Its so hard that they had to invent the surf & turf. This leaves me no choice but to bring it to a vote. I have a feeling Donaldson will win out here, but you’re kidding yourself if you think its an easy call. Donaldson is doing this year what Beltre’s been doing for 18 seasons.
Andrus vs Tulo
Two of our favorite leathermen in baseball, these guys have played the SS position as well as anyone in recent years. They also have some of the sickest gear.
Andrus, like big brother Beltre, likes to texturize his Nike footwear, like these lizard skin Huarache Pros.
Troy Tulowitzki also gets the VIP treatment by Nike, though his tenure in Toronto has been relatively tame in the footwear category, rocking some 2KFilth along with some pretty basic NIKEiD Huarache Pros.
Where the separation occurs is at the plate. Tulo swings his Tucci 271 like a beast, while Andrus’ numbers have been steadily decreasing these last few seasons.
Edge: Blue Jays
Hamilton vs Revere
Hamilton, despite his troubles, is a sentimental favorite of mine. So many positive memories of him obliterating baseballs with that effortless stroke. Mythical power. Awe-inspiring ability. And those classic Nike Air Huarache 2K4s (which you can still buy on eBay).
But what’s up with that thing growing on his face? Clean it up, bro.
Ben Revere was a nice upgrade for the Jays at the deadline. He and Pillar are incredible athletes who make the outfield look a lot smaller out there. But those batting gloves? Yikes. Did he pick those up at Marshall’s?
Luckily he’s got better taste in shoes. His Mizuno Heist IQ cleats are fresh, and having played in them the last half of this season, I really do like them. I was wearing the New Balance Minimus for the first half of the season, but when Mizuno sent me the ASG versions of the Heist IQ, I put them on and never took them off. They offer a little more structure than the Minimus, feel just as light, and look great. I’m a big fan. Get those here.
In a great matchup of footwear, I still gotta go with the Derby legend.
DeShields vs Pillar
Breakout seasons from both of these guys, but look at that catch people. Reverian? Guy is on springs. adidas Afterburner 2.0 springs to be exact:
Get those here.
Edge: Blue Jays
Choo vs Bautista
Choo is quietly one of the most stylish guys in baseball. He’s been the beneficiary of some of Nike’s finest custom work. That glove is a masterpiece.
Joey Bats does it even better though—case in point, these custom 4040v3s that New Balance whipped up just in time for today’s game. Crisp edges on the beard. 227 bombs over the last 6 seasons. WPW follower.
Yeah, this one’s easy.
Edge: Blue Jays
Prince vs Edwin
After Beltre/Donaldson, this is the toughest matchup to call. Since coming over from Cincinnati, Edwin Encarnacion has combined with Jose Bautista to become the freshest and scariest power hitting combo in baseball. Prince Fielder and his bear paws are just as imposing from the left side.
Prince and his Texas boys get to have all the Nike fun they want, experimenting with textures and patterns more than any other team (like these MVP Elite 3/4 turfs).
Edwin’s are more of the NIKEiD variety, so he’s not exactly suffering either. And how about some custom logo Franklin’s (the only personal logo’d Franklins we know of):
Another impossible call.
Final Tally: Blue Jays 5, Rangers 2
Lets hope for some football scores. Enjoy the series.