The Toronto Blue Jays, in the postseason for the first time in 22 seasons, are a betting favourite to win both the American League Pennant and the World Series. However, they do have their work cut out for them in the Division Series against the Texas Rangers.

The Blue Jays are listed at +145, ahead of the AL-leading Kansas City Royals (+200) and their Division Series foe, Texas (+550), in futures betting on which team will win the AL Pennant. They are also a +300 favourite on the futures for World Series winners, ahead of the co-second favourite Royals and St. Louis Cardinals at +500.

At the dawn of August, the Blue Jays were just two games above .500 and were six games behind New York in the AL East race. Toronto, after trades for Cy Young candidate David Price, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, outfielder Ben Revere and reliever LaTroy Hawkins, went 40-18 (.690 winning percentage) from August 1 onward to overtake the Yankees.

Similarly, at the end of July Texas had a losing record (50-52) and was third in the AL West, seven games adrift of the Houston Astros. It is 38-22 (.633 WP) since August 1, thanks in part to the career resurgence from No. 2 hitter Shin-Soo Choo, who had a .458 on-base percentage and .538 slugging percentage during that stretch.

Toronto will start a well-rested Price in Game 1 on Thursday and will have the chance to use him again in an elimination game. Price is 3-4 with a 5.15 earned-run average and .270 opponents' average in 11 regular-season starts against the Rangers.

The lefthander also lost all three of his starts against Texas during the 2010-11 postseasons when Texas went on to win back-to-back AL pennants. His Tampa Bay Rays teammates scored all of five runs in those three games.

The Blue Jays are 2-2 against Texas in games started by knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. Marcus Stroman did not face Texas this season, but the Blue Jays won his lone 2014 start against the Rangers. Marco Estrada's teams are 1-1 when he starts against Texas.

Texas righthander Yovoni Gallardo gave up no earned runs and a .136 opponents' average in his two regular-season starts against Toronto. Three of the Rangers' other four starters are lefthanders.

The Blue Jays, in the course of leading MLB with 232 home runs and 891 runs scored, had a robust .810 on-base plus slugging (OPS) against lefty starters, compared to their overall AL-best .797 OPS. Ace Cole Hamels could be unlikely to start before Game 2 and the other three Rangers starters, Derek Holland, Colby Lewis (a righty) and Martin Perez, all finished with ERAs north of 4.40.

Toronto is 4-2 this season against Texas, having come out ahead in both a three-game series at Rogers Centre in late June and a late August rematch at Globe Life Park in Arlington.

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