Everything about tonight’s game screams mismatch.
Start with the pitching match-up: Yu Darvish, 16-9 with a 3.90 ERA, but 3-0 with a 2.21 in the month of September, going up against Joe Saunders, 9-13 with a 4.07 ERA but a career 0-6 with a 9.38 ERA at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
A battle-hardened Rangers roster vs. an Orioles team whose roster is 20% composed of players who logged time with the Rangers’ AAA affiliate Round Rock a year ago (Chris Davis, Taylor Teagarden, Tommy Hunter, Pedro Strop and Darren O’Day). In other words, Rangers light.
Texas finished second in hitting, the Orioles 10th. Texas was first in runs scored, the Orioles 9th.
Texas is playing at home. Texas was 5-2 against the Orioles in 2012.
Yep, everything is pointing to a Rangers win tonight.
I’m a Rangers fan, tried and true. This game scares me. The Rangers should win this game, but their own manager preaches it like a mantra: It’s the team that plays the best baseball, not the best team, that wins the game. Over the last 13 games, the Rangers have not been playing good baseball. They stumbled home to a 4-9 conclusion to the season, which cost them the AL West Championship and put them into this one or done situation.
The Orioles have gone 12-5 over the last 17 games. Say what you will about the competition they’ve faced in that span (Boston, Toronto, Seattle and Tampa Bay), they did what they had to do to get to this point. The Rangers are at this point because they didn’t do what they had to do.
I’m supporting my team. There’s no doubt they have the talent to win this game and even to go far in the playoffs and I’ll be yelling and cajoling them from my seat in the living room tonight. But they could also have me muttering “I can’t @&%$# believe it” if they continue to play the game the way they’ve played it lately. Don’t tell me this one’s in the bag. Tonight, I’m Yogi Berra. It ain’t over ’til it’s over.
- HBT: Can Rangers snap out of it? (hardballtalk.nbcsports.com)
- Orioles tab Saunders as wild-card game starter (espn.go.com)
- Showalter, O’s face Rangers; winner gets Yanks (nypost.com)