8:30 PM on TBS
The Orioles are heading to Texas to take on the two-time defending American League Champs in the Texas Rangers. The Rangers ended up in this game after losing 7 of 9 including three straight to the Oakland A’s to end up as a Wild Card Team.
The Orioles did not play all that well against Texas in the regular season with the Rangers winning 5 of the 7 games. But the slates are clean now that the playoffs have started and the regular season means little to nothing. If you’re looking for story lines for this game here is a few:
In 2007 the Orioles got beat by the Texas Rangers 30-3….yup 30-3. I for one have never forgotten it and this is the perfect way for pay back.
Another storyline is that of Buck Showalter and Chris Davis, two former Rangers who were thought of as not good enough to stay in Texas. You can bet they will have a little chip on their shoulder heading into this game, especially Davis and his 33 HRs.
Here are a few keys to the game:
When The Birds Are At The Plate
The Rangers will be sending staff ace Yu Darvish to the mound with a 16-9 record and 3.90 ERA. At this point, the Orioles should be begging to see any kind of pitcher not in a Rays uniform after getting all but shut down in Tampa the last three games. For the Orioles to win, they must do what they have done all year. Hit home runs and hit them in big spots with people on base. The Ball Park In Arlington is a launching pad which fits the Orioles perfect. The O’s also need to come out and put some runs on the board early. In the series with Tampa they didn’t have a hit in the first three innings of any game. Right now Texas is a team that can see the door closing after a big time collapse and it’s the job of the Oriole hitters to slam that door shut.
When Texas Is At The Plate
The Orioles have not announced a starting pitcher but from what I can see from sources on my twitter machine, it looks like the O’s might go with rookie right hander Steve Johnson. If that turns out to be wrong they will go with veteran left hander Joe Saunders. Personally my vote goes to the rookie Johnson with a 4-0 record and 2.11 ERA. Numbers aside I would go with Johnson because he is from Baltimore, his dad was an Oriole, and he knows what this means to the city and the fan base. Regardless of who throws for the O’s the starter must do what they have done all year, keep the game close and let the O’s get into the bullpen with a chance to win. No one expects them to go out and shut down Texas.
Going into Arlington to play the 2 time AL Champs is no joke, but the Orioles have been an underdog team all season. I think if they O’s can come out and put up 3-4 early runs and keep Texas from having a big inning they can without a doubt pull this off and shock a lot of people.
Orioles win it and advance to the ALDS, sending Texas home for the third straight year empty-handed. One thing to remember when watching tomorrow night, anything can happen in October.
(Hopefully we won’t be seeing anything like this)