AL Wild Card Preview
At 8:37 on Friday night, the Baltimore Orioles look to return to glory when they head to Texas to take on the two-time defending American League champion Texas Rangers in a single-elimination Wild Card game. The winner will take on the New York Yankees. What can you expect?
THE PITCHING MATCHUP:
Joe Saunders, LHP, Baltimore Orioles2012: 9-13, 28 starts, 4.07 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 174.2 IP, 112:39 K:BB
2012 vs. TEX: No appearances against Texas during the 2012 season
Career vs. TEX: 3-7, 11 starts, 6.48 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 58.1 IP, 48:20 K:BB
Career at The Ballpark at Arlington: 0-6, 6 starts, 9.38 ERA, 1.80 WHIP, 31.2 IP, 24:16 K:BB
Career in the postseason: 0-1, 4 starts, 6.00 ERA, 1.94 WHIP, 18 IP, 8:12 K:BB
Yu Darvish, RHP, Texas Rangers2012: 16-9, 29 starts, 3.90 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 191.1 IP, 221:89 K:BB
2012 vs. BAL: The first start against Baltimore of 2012 will be Friday.
Career vs. BAL: The first start in his career against Baltimore will be Friday.
Career at The Ballpark at Arlington: 10-2, 14 starts, 3.88 ERA, 1.28 ERA, 92.2 IP, 111:39 K:BB
Career in the postseason: Darvish is a rookie in MLB. Friday will be his first postseason start.
TOP PERFORMERS IN 2012:
Runs: Adam Jones, 103
Hits: Adam Jones, 186
Doubles: Adam Jones, 39
Triples: Adam Jones, Manny Machado, and Nick Markakis, 3
Home Runs: Chris Davis, 33
RBI: Chris Davis, 85
Stolen Bases: Adam Jones, 16
Average: Nick Markakis, .298
OPS: Adam Jones, .839
Runs: Ian Kinsler, 105
Hits: Adrian Beltre, 194
Doubles: Nelson Cruz, 45
Triples: Elvis Andrus, 9
Home Runs: Josh Hamilton, 43
RBI: Josh Hamilton, 128
Stolen Bases: Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler, 21
Average: Adrian Beltre, .321
OPS: Josh Hamilton, .930
What to Expect:
Texas was fantastic at home in 2012, going 50-31 (.617) and scoring 5.52 runs per game while allowing 4.62 runs per game. The Rangers went 5-2 and outscored Baltimore 56-24 in their seven meeting in 2012.
Baltimore had a fantastic season and they were written off by many, including myself, but they have hung around. They were 29-9 in one-run games, which is either luck or fantastic managing by Buck Showalter. Now with one game, they put all of their eggs in the Joe Saunders basket.
With Saunders hideous statistics in six career starts in Texas and four career postseason starts, it was a shock to see his name appear as the starter for this one-gam elimination. While the club doesn’t have many better options considering rest and results in 2012, it is still a questionable decision.
Due to the Rangers success at home and the incredible talent that they have offensively, my prediction is that the Rangers win this game 7-2, pounding Saunders, while Darvish shows that he was worth the investment.