Skip to content

AL Wild Card Game Preview: Can the Rangers snap out of it?

Oct 5, 2012, 12:30 AM EST

Orioles Rangers Baseball

The Matchup: Baltimore Orioles (93-69) at Texas Rangers (93-69)

The Time: Friday, 8:37 PM Eastern

The Starting Pitchers:  Joe Saunders (3-3, 3.63 ERA) vs. Yu Darvish (16-9, 3.90 ERA)

The Breakdown:  Watching the Rangers melt down these past couple of weeks — especially in game 162 vs. the A’s on Wednesday — one is tempted to say that they have zero momentum — maybe negative momentum — heading into the playoffs and are sitting ducks.

Of course, if one were to say that, one would be ignoring the fact that (a) there is no correlation between how a team finishes and how they perform in the playoffs; and (b) momentum, as the old saying goes, is your next day’s starting pitcher.  And the Rangers have the way better next day’s starting pitcher.

Yu Darvish hit a rough patch in the middle of the season, but after making some mid-season adjustments he went 5-1 with a 2.35 ERA and 67/15 K/BB ratio in 57 innings over his final eight starts. The Orioles have not faced him at all this year and his is not the most conventional stuff in the world. I really think he’s going to present some problems for the men in orange.

Saunders, meanwhile, is no one’s definition of a shutdown ace. While he pitched well since joining the Orioles in August — a 3.63 ERA and 23/8 K/BB ratio in 45 innings — he is a lefty, the Rangers are righty heavy and they have beat him up like he owed them money the times they’ve faced him.  The Orioles bullpen has been the team’s strength this year, but they’re gonna need to be ready early in this one, methinks.

The Prediction: The Orioles are a great story and, if you don’t have a rooting interest in these AL playoffs, it’s hard not to root for them.  But a one-and-done game against a tough pitcher on the road in the first playoff series most of these guys have ever seen? Eh, not liking their chances.  Rangers 6, Orioles 3.

Latest Posts
  1. Masahiro Tanaka expected to make his 2015 Grapefruit League debut on March 12

    Mar 4, 2015, 6:22 PM EST

    tanaka getty Getty Images

    He successfully rehabbed a torn UCL in his right elbow last season and the Yankees’ fingers remain crossed that the 26-year-old from Japan will be able to avoid Tommy John elbow reconstructive surgery.

  2. Billy Bean responds to Daniel Murphy’s comments

    Mar 4, 2015, 4:18 PM EST

    Billy Bean

    While it’s clear that the two do not see eye to eye, Billy Bean is choosing to look on the bright side of yesterday’s comments from Daniel Murphy.

  3. Meanwhile, they’ll be serving churro dogs at Chase Field this year

    Mar 4, 2015, 3:20 PM EST

    diamondbacks logo alternate

    What’s a churro dog, you ask? Click, my pretties. Click!

  4. Athletes should be treated fairly by the press. Even if they’re not friendly to the press.

    Mar 4, 2015, 1:26 PM EST

    press hat

    Athletes oftentimes, don’t see reporters as people. Reporters, oftentimes, don’t see athletes as people. Reporters, however have a duty of objectivity athletes don’t have.

  5. A’s announce Coco Crisp is moving to left field

    Mar 4, 2015, 11:47 AM EST

    coco crisp getty Getty Images

    The move leaves Craig Gentry and Sam Fuld to platoon in center field.

  6. Phillies don’t expect Chad Billingsley to be ready for Opening Day

    Mar 4, 2015, 11:20 AM EST

    Los Angeles Dodgers v San Diego Padres Getty Images

    Billingsley hasn’t pitched in a big-league game since way back in April of 2013.

  7. Now that he’s released, who pays for Joel Hanrahan’s surgery?

    Mar 4, 2015, 11:05 AM EST

    Joel Hanrahan Getty Getty Images

    Today’s news sucks for Joel Hanrahan, but it’s a good basis for an explainer.

  8. Orioles catcher Matt Wieters limited to DH duties until mid-March

    Mar 4, 2015, 10:52 AM EST

    wieters getty Getty Images

    Wieters underwent Tommy John elbow surgery in June.

  9. Rays name Alex Cobb as Opening Day starter

    Mar 4, 2015, 10:15 AM EST

    Alex Cobb Getty Getty Images

    Now that David Price is out of the picture the Rays need a new Opening Day starter.

  10. Before we laud Curt Schilling too much for his attack on corrosive social media . . .

    Mar 4, 2015, 9:59 AM EST

    Curt Schilling AP

    . . . it’s worth remembering that Schilling himself has some issues when it comes to sensitivity and enlightenment on social media.

  11. Klapisch: it’s time to give A-Rod a break

    Mar 4, 2015, 9:30 AM EST

    Alex Rodriguez

    Let us applaud one writer’s brave effort to battle the beast that is A-Rod Derangement Syndrome.

  12. Photo of the Day: now THAT’S a windup!

    Mar 4, 2015, 9:03 AM EST

    Camera

    Juan Marichal’s got nothin’ on this pitcher from Murray State.

  13. Joel Hanrahan to have a second Tommy John surgery

    Mar 4, 2015, 8:24 AM EST

    Joel Hanrahan AP

    Terrible news that will keep Joel Hanrahan off the mound for at least another year.

  14. Daniel Murphy on Billy Bean: “I do disagree with the fact that Billy is a homosexual”

    Mar 4, 2015, 6:54 AM EST

    Daniel Murphy Getty Getty Images

    I wasn’t aware that one could “disagree” with facts. But there we are.

  15. Rusney Castillo suffers left side injury

    Mar 3, 2015, 10:57 PM EST

    rusney castillo getty Getty Images

    It was a successful afternoon in pretty much every way at Fenway South. Except maybe one …

  16. Yankees prospect Luis Torrens needs shoulder surgery

    Mar 3, 2015, 9:44 PM EST

    yankees logo

    The expectation is that he will have to sit out the entire 2015 season.

  17. Orioles sign Pedro Beato to minor league contract

    Mar 3, 2015, 8:31 PM EST

    beato getty Getty Images

    The deal does not include an invitation to major league spring training, so Beato won’t be under consideration for one of the spots in the Orioles’ Opening Day bullpen.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches