Concerned that the Orioles finished the year with a loss? Or that our bats went cold in the final two games?
Hey, they are truly downhearted in Texas. The Rangers led their division by five games with nine left to play until the Oakland A’s literally swept the rug out from under their feet.
Let’s not forget the Rangers dropped the last two World Series. That has raised expectations in Texas and, at the same time, created a burden of inevitable disappointment.
I mean, we’re still thrilled just to make the playoffs after a decade-and-a-half drought. Right? The only question tonight in Baltimore is what neighborhood and which bar to watch and cheer. Game time is 8:30 p.m.
We all know by now that the numbers aren’t on our side: Joe Saunders, our starting pitcher, has never beaten the Rangers in Texas, getting shellacked while posting a 9.36 ERA.
Ranger starter Yu Darvish, on the other hand, is 5-1 with a 2.35 ERA since mid-August. And the O’s have never faced Darvish, a 26-year-old hard-thrower with several pitches, who arrived from Japan this season.
Nonetheless, Buck Showalter has made a lot of good decisions this year. We’re going to trust him on Saunders and trust that if the veteran lefty struggles early Buck will go to the pen, which has been awesome all year.
Personally, I think we’re going to have to get on base and score some runs to win this game…
Here’s a sampling of what they’re sayin’ in the Lone Star State:
Kevin Sherrington, Dallas Morning News columnist, on Yu Darvish pitching against the Orioles:
“They put all of their eggs in that basket (winning the division). They could have arranged the rotation where Yu would have pitched today, but instead they set it up to where he was going to pitch in the playoffs. I’m sure they thought there is no way we blow this. I think out of all the Rangers, this is the guy you want on the mound. There is no question about that. There is no question Yu is the guy you have to go with.
Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Cowlishaw:
You would give a very decisive edge to Rangers in starting pitching. Orioles have not faced Darvish and that has tended to be very important. Rangers have seen Joe Saunders and he is nothing special. However, bullpen and intangibles would go to Orioles. If Baltimore gets down a couple runs, they could fight back like they have done many times.”
Jeff Wilson of Fort Worth Star Telegram:
“The one thing the Texas Rangers probably needed most Thursday — a day off — was granted to them by manager Ron Washington. The previously scheduled workout ahead of their make-or-break wild-card game was canceled, and there was no need to come to Rangers Ballpark at all. 'I felt like they needed a break from the ballpark,' Washington said. The grinded-down American League West runners-up needed a day away from the game that has been so tough for them to play consistently well the past few weeks. They aren't just beaten down physically. Their minds are a little warped from being ticked off or even shell-shocked by their late-season fall from first place.”