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ALDS Game 2: Pre-Game Thoughts

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Since Sportsnet is currently offering a high dosage of Gregg Zaun's analysis, feel free to hit the mute button and comment your pregame thoughts in this thread. Here's my quick take on the game:

Adrian Beltre is a Huge Loss For Texas

Not only is Beltre a terrific player, but his loss changes the Rangers lineup significantly. Without its big right0handed bat, Texas will now have three straight left-handed hitters in the 2-3-4 spots. Unless Marcus Stroman is dominating, it would be smart to have a left-handed reliever enter the game for Shin-Soo Choo's third at bat. The Rangers probably would not pinch hit for Choo or Prince Fielder, but Mike Napoli could enter the game in place of Mitch Moreland. Elvis Andrus would follow Moreland/Napoli, so a right-handed reliever could enter to face consecutive righties. 

Beltre's elite fielding and solid offence will surely be missed, but the Blue Jays can further exploit the Rangers with strong managing. Aaron Loup and Brett Cecil should be utilized today.

Keep Delino Deshields From Reaching Base

Both Choo and Fielder crush right-handed pitching, so having them hit with the bases empty is a major factor. Stroman will need to take extreme caution when facing this duo, and if he can shut them down I like Toronto's chances. These guys are much less effective against lefties, so as mentioned above, Gibbons probably should not be letting Marcus face them for a third time. If Deshields can get on base ahead of them, the Blue Jays are in trouble.

Force Cole Hamels To Throw More Fastballs

Hamels possesses one of the best changeups in all of baseball. Facing a Blue Jays lineup with a ton of right-handed hitters, look for him to use his best pitch early and often. His cutter is a good pitch as well, and will attempt to jam hitters quite frequently. If the Blue Jays are going to do some damage against this ace, Toronto will have to show strong plate discipline to get into more fastball counts. If you are consistently behind-in-the-count at the plate, expect to see plenty of devastating changeups. Toronto should look to do its damage against his fastball.

There's my big thoughts on the game. Feel free to share your take in the comments! 

Go Jays!