Texas Rangers: Yu Darvish Makes His 1st Appearance North of the Border

Jeff Grant@@JeffGrantSportsContributor IApril 29, 2012

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 24:  Yu Darvish #11 of the Texas Rangers throws against the New York Yankees at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on April 24, 2012 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays will open up a three-game series on Monday night inside the Rogers Centre, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:07 ET on ESPN.

Las Vegas oddsmakers have established the Rangers as -145 road favorites, while the opening total has dropped by a half run to settle in at 8.5.

Yu Darvish (3-0, 2.42 ERA) is set to appear in Canada for the first time this year, and comes off a dominating 2-0 home win over the New York Yankees. He tossed 8.1 shutout innings and struck out a season-high 10 batters in that effort.

The Japanese right-hander has won all four of his starts, averaging a major league-leading 113 pitches per game. Darvish has yet to allow a home run in 26 combined innings.

Sports bettors will find that the Rangers are 8-2 in their last 10 games against AL East teams, while the "under" is 4-1 in the last five meetings in this series.

Toronto continues a six-game homestand after winning two of three against the Seattle Mariners, including a 7-2 victory on Sunday. The Blue Jays have gone 9-4 at home against the Rangers since the start of the 2009 campaign.

Kyle Drabek (2-1, 2.25 ERA) has certainly turned things around through four starts this season after going 4-5 with a 6.06 ERA in 18 appearances (14 starts) a year ago. He dropped a 3-0 road decision to the Baltimore Orioles last time out, giving up two runs and five hits over six frames.

The right-hander picked up a 6-4 road victory in his only career start versus the Rangers on April 25th, 2011, allowing three runs and five hits over six frames.

The Blue Jays are 4-1 in Drabek's last five starts as an underdog of +110 to +150, while the "over" is 4-0 in his last four home games.

Weather forecasts anticipate showers in the Toronto area throughout the game, which will likely cause the roof to be closed at the ball park.