Scouting notes, predictions for ALDS matchups

Kurkjian: Price is Blue Jays' X factor; Schilling: Stroman is

The Baseball Tonight crew debates who will be the X factor for the Blue Jays when they take on the Rangers in the ALDS on Thursday.

I'm of the opinion that most playoff series odds are no better than about 55-45, even when one team is clearly superior to the other, because of the randomness inherent in short series and in baseball in general. The playoffs aren't about finding out who is the "best" team, but determining a World Series winner, and while sometimes those two coincide, often they don't -- which is a big part of why the MLB playoffs are more interesting than the NBA playoffs, in which the best team nearly always comes out on top.

With that said, here are my predictions for both series, with some general reasons behind them. I'll have NLDS predictions Friday.

Toronto vs. Texas

On paper, the Blue Jays are the best team in the American League by a fair margin, boasting the majors' best offense, a strong defense and a good-to-great rotation now that Marcus Stroman is back. They don't have a significant weakness anywhere on the roster, although the late-game relief corps doesn't compare well to those of several other playoff teams, such as the Royals' squad. Toronto's lineup is a little too right-handed, but it hasn't amounted to anything significant, as they've hit right-handed pitching nearly as well as lefty pitching this year, mostly because their core right-handed hitters hit everybody.

The Rangers turned out to be one of the year's best stories. After losing their ace, Yu Darvish, to Tommy John surgery before the season even began and hitting the All-Star break at 42-46, they went 46-28 afterward to earn the AL West crown.