Beltre in and at cleanup
Rangers third baseman and team leader Adrian Beltre was in manager Jeff Banister's lineup on Wednesday, a good sign for Texas. Beltre, who is slated hit fourth, was pulled from Game 1 early because of a lower back strain, and he didn't return to the lineup card until about an hour before Game 4, when he stroked two singles but ran very gingerly.
There was a concern that Beltre would have a hard time in Game 5 on Rogers Centre's artificial turf, but, sticking with what he has said all series, Banister is leaving the decision-making up to Beltre himself.
"I trust he has enough experience to know what he feels he can and can't do, and what he should and should not do to prepare himself for a ballgame," Banister said. "This turf is not like the old turf: carpet on hard surface. It is a little more forgiving than most."
The Rangers' lineup can be very unforgiving when it's clicking, and that's what Banister hopes he'll get Wednesday from a batting order that's only slightly different from the one used in Game 4.
Center fielder Delino DeShields remains in the leadoff spot and is followed by right fielder Shin-Soo Choo and designated hitter Prince Fielder. Beltre is in the cleanup spot and is followed by left-handed-hitting first baseman Mitch Moreland, the usual choice against right-handed starters such as Toronto's Game 5 pitcher, Marcus Stroman.
Left fielder Josh Hamilton and shortstop Elvis Andrus have flip-flopped in the order from Game 4, with Hamilton set to hit fifth in Game 5 and Andrus following him in sixth.
The bottom of the order features second baseman Rougned Odor and starter Cole Hamels' personal catcher, Chris Gimenez.
Delino DeShields, CF
Shin-Soo Choo, RF
Prince Fielder, DH
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Mitch Moreland, 1B
Josh Hamilton, LF
Elvis Andrus, SS
Rougned Odor, 2B
Chris Gimenez, C
Cole Hamels, P
All systems go for Toronto
The Blue Jays must have liked what they saw in Game 4 in Arlington, when they scored a series-high eight runs in a game. Manager John Gibbons penciled in the exact same lineup, with Russell Martin back behind the plate to catch Stroman.
Gibbons said he hopes that momentum will finally carry over and allow the home team -- his team -- to win one game in this set, which had not happened through the first four.
"Well, we'll find out," Gibbons said. "What we do is we hit. That is our trademark. It made a huge difference in those games down there. We scored some runs early in must-win games and it did wonders for us, so hopefully we can do it again today."
They'll start with left-handed-hitting left fielder Ben Revere in his customary leadoff role, and then the big right-handed bats begin: third baseman Josh Donaldson, right fielder Jose Bautista and designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion, one after the other, in slots 2-3-4.
First baseman Chris Colabello homered and hit an RBI double in Game 4, and he'll bat fifth ahead of shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, whose three-run homer keyed Toronto's Game 3 victory in Texas.
Martin will hit seventh and will be followed by center fielder Kevin Pillar, who also homered in Game 4, and the No. 9 hitter, second baseman Ryan Goins.
BLUE JAYS LINEUP
Ben Revere, LF
Josh Donaldson, 3B
Jose Bautista, RF
Edwin Encarnacion, DH
Chris Colabello, 1B
Troy Tulowitzki, SS
Russell Martin, C
Kevin Pillar, CF
Ryan Goins, 2B
Marcus Stroman, P