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Joe Saunders gets Game 4 start with Orioles’ season on the line, again

Oct 11, 2012, 10:47 AM EDT

Joe Saunders Getty Getty Images

For the second time in a week the Orioles will turn to Joe Saunders with their season on the line.

Saunders, who started the Wild Card playoff game against the Rangers last Friday, will take the mound tonight against the Yankees with the Orioles facing elimination down 2-1. Buck Showalter opted to go with Saunders over Chris Tillman, who went 9-3 with a 2.93 ERA in 15 starts during the regular season.

Saunders had a far less impressive 9-13 record and 4.07 ERA during the regular season and made just seven starts for the Orioles after coming over in a trade with the Diamondbacks for little in return on August 26.

As a left-hander facing a lineup full of right-handed power hitters the matchup versus Texas couldn’t have been any worse for Saunders on paper,  yet he tossed 5.2 innings of one-run ball to erase some really ugly career numbers against the Rangers. And now after beating the AL’s highest-scoring offense Saunders will go up against the league’s No. 2 offense, although the Yankees don’t have as much scary right-handed power.

And if Saunders comes through again tonight the Orioles will turn to Jason Hammel in Game 5.

  1. Detroit Michael - Oct 11, 2012 at 11:25 AM

    I think not considering Chris Tillman to be one of the Orioles’ four best starting pitchers is a mistake.

    Since returning from elbow soreness, in four games Tillman gave up 6 runs (5 earned runs) in 25 IP with a 17 K / 3 BB ratio. Since then, he has yet to be used in the post-season, although part of that is due to the fact that he last pitched on October 3, so initially he wasn’t sufficiently rested to take the mound again. I haven’t looked closely to see what the solution is, but I doubt that not using Tillman at all is optimal.

    • Francisco (FC) - Oct 11, 2012 at 11:28 AM

      If Joe falters surely Buck will bring the hook out quickly and toss in Tillman… right?

  2. randygnyc - Oct 11, 2012 at 11:25 AM

    Yankees must win tonight as it makes the path to the WS more likely/probable. Yanks need to have CC start game 1 of the ALCS, not game 5 of the ALDS.

    • bmorelikeme - Oct 11, 2012 at 11:39 AM

      That’s funny, because the O’s need to win tonight too. O’s need there to be a game 5 of the ALCS, so hopefully Chen could start game 1 of the ALCS. Weird, we are in such similar situations.

      • jayscarpa - Oct 11, 2012 at 11:41 AM

        Wouldn’t Tillman start tomorrow and Chen get game #1 anyway?

  3. nmrdr795 - Oct 11, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    Joe saunders gets to finish the first season the os fans have showed up for in 15 years.

  4. libertynchurch - Oct 11, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    There will be a Game 5. Bank on it. Yankees team slump is gonna make his guy look like Sandy-freakin Koufax!

    • nmrdr795 - Oct 11, 2012 at 3:58 PM

      Why dont you compare him to an old os pitcher…..o wait no ones been at the games for 15 years to see whovwas pitching. Soory you could use a new yorker

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