Gallardo a compelling option for Game 1 start

While rotation is not official, right-hander has thrived against Blue Jays

Gallardo a compelling option for Game 1 start

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have not announced their starting rotation for the Division Series against the Blue Jays, but a compelling case can be made for right-hander Yovani Gallardo to pitch Game 1.

Gallardo pitched twice this season against a Blue Jays lineup that is dominated by right-handed power hitters and won both games without allowing a run. Gallardo, who last pitched on Wednesday, threw a bullpen session on Monday at the ballpark, as did Derek Holland.

The Rangers will likely save Cole Hamels for Game 2 on Friday, so he can pitch on his normal four days' rest. He threw 108 pitches in his complete game on Sunday against the Angels.

Game Date Result
Gm 1 Oct. 8 TEX 5, TOR 3
Gm 2 Oct. 9 TEX 6, TOR 4
Gm 3 Oct. 11 TOR 5, TEX 1
Gm 4 Oct. 12 TOR 8, TEX 4
Gm 5 Oct. 14 TOR 6, TEX 3

The Rangers will go with four starters for the division series. That leaves the Rangers to decide between Holland, Colby Lewis and Martin Perez for Game 3 and 4. If there is a Game 5, Hamels could pitch again on four days' rest.

General manager Jon Daniels said that the starter who is not in the rotation will likely still be on the roster as a reliever.

"We're still talking, but there is a good chance of that," Daniels said.

Daniels said the Rangers expect to go with four starters and seven relievers in the bullpen. Four spots in the bullpen are already taken with closer Shawn Tolleson, right-handed setup relievers Sam Dyson and Keone Kela, and left-hander Jake Diekman.

That leaves three spots left, including one for the starter who is not in the rotation. For the others, the Rangers will likely look at left-handers Sam Freeman and Andrew Faulkner and right-handers Ross Ohlendorf and Chi Chi Gonzalez. Daniels admitted that the Blue Jays' number of right-handed power hitters is something to think about.

"But this is a lineup that hits left- and right-handers," Daniels said. "They have a very good offense for a reason. It factors into it, but you don't want to outsmart the process. You want your best players out there deciding it."

Worth noting

• The Blue Jays had the best home record in the American League at 53-28 and Daniels said they may have the best home-field advantage in the league.

• The Rangers will be playing on the artificial turf at Rogers Centre, which could be hard on outfielders Josh Hamilton and Delino DeShields. Both are dealing with sore left knees, but Daniels said he thinks they will be fine. Both ran into walls chasing fly balls during the final homestand and both came out of it without further issues. Said Daniels, "It can't be worse than that."

• Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista on playing the Rangers: "We have an extra day to prepare, it's not that much of a difference, but it's still somewhat of a good feeling knowing that we played pretty well against Texas this year and most of us do pretty well in that ballpark. It's one of those places we always put up a lot of runs. It's a hitter's park just like ours and that's probably going to help us."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.