W2W4: Rangers face Blue Jays

April, 30, 2012
4/30/12
1:12
PM CT
The Texas Rangers head to Canada for a three-game set against the Toronto Blue Jays. Here are a few things to watch during the series:

* Yu Darvish headlines things with a start tonight against the team that was rumored to have put in the high posting bid before the Rangers surfaced as the winner back in December. ESPN Stats & Information shares this stat:

PODCAST
Rangers president Nolan Ryan dishes on Josh Hamilton's injury, Yu Darvish's performance against the Yankees, Derek Holland's slump and more.

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Darvish was known for his expansive repertoire when he arrived in Texas. He’s thrown at least 24 of SIX different types of pitches this season.

PITCHES THROWN THIS SEASON:
Fastball: 205
Cutter: 74
Slider: 73
Curveball: 52
Sinker: 24
Changeup/splitter: 24

* The Rangers enter the game leading the AL with a 2.89 ERA, fourth in the majors. It's just the fourth date in team history to have an ERA this low through at least 22 games. The other three dates came in 1983. The Blue Jays have a 3.78 ERA, fifth in the AL.

* Texas' starting rotation is tops in the AL with a 3.23 ERA, but the Blue Jays aren't far behind at 3.42 (tied for third).

* Edwin Encarnacion is Toronto's top producer, with seven homers and 20 RBIs to go along with a .310 average. He was just 5-for-30 against Texas pitching last year.

* Jose Bautista has just three homers so far in 2012 and is batting .190.

* This is Texas' third straight series against an AL East opponent. They are 5-3 against the division in 2012. The East owns four of the AL's six teams that are better than .500 this season. The Yankees and Rays are the only teams the Rangers have faced so far this season that are better than .500.

* Josh Hamilton comes in with a sore back and was taken out of Sunday's game. Watch to see if he plays. If he does tonight, he'll try to add to his ridiculous April numbers, which include nine homers and 25 RBIs. He's the first to hit at least that many homers and have that many RBIs in April since Alex Rodriguez in 2007. A-Rod won the MVP that season.

* Keep your eye on Elvis Andrus. He's hit save in three of four games and is 5-for-14 in that span. He's hitting .303 (20-for-66) in his last 17 games after starting the season slowly.

* Ricky Romero, 3-0, 3.18 ERA, is the Blue Jays' No. 1 pitcher and he'll go on Wednesday afternoon in the series finale.
Richard Durrett joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He writes about colleges, the Dallas Stars and the Texas Rangers. Richard spent nine years at The Dallas Morning News covering the Rangers, Stars, colleges, motorsports and high schools.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Martin Perez
WINS ERA SO IP
3 1.86 20 29
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Rios .333
HRP. Fielder 2
RBIA. Rios 10
RE. Andrus 11
OPSS. Choo .895
ERAY. Darvish 0.82
SOY. Darvish 23