A surprise matchup with the Baltimore Orioles heading south to play the Texas Rangers in the A.L. Wildcard game on Friday. The winner will advance to the A.L.D.S. and a date with the New York Yankees.
The Orioles have been one of the biggest surprise teams this season and battled the Yankees tooth and nail for the A.L. East, but came up a little short. They have been playing great baseball and had to fight their way into this game.
The Rangers were the A.L. West leader for 178 straight days, but finally lost their grip at the worst possible time, the last day of the season. They got shocked by the pesky Oakland A’s and now must play in the A.L. Wildcard game against a very dangerous Orioles team with nothing to lose.
The Rangers went 5-2 against the Orioles during the regular season and will have rookie pitcher Yu Darvish (16-9, 3.90) on the mound looking to keep their season alive.
The Orioles will have veteran pitcher Joe Saunders (9-13, 4.07) on the mound. Saunders has a 6.48 ERA in 11 career starts against Texas, including a 9.38 ERA in six games in Arlington.
On paper this game looks like it will be the Rangers winning this game and moving on, but games aren’t played on paper and I think the Rangers teetering on the brink of a meltdown. They played with almost no emotion against the A’s and let a team that was 13 games behind them on June 30 rip the division title out of their hands. This team’s in serious trouble and don’t be surprised to see them heading into an earlier than expected offseason on Friday night.
Prediction: Orioles win 7-4