Starting Pitcher: Yu Darvish, 16-9, 3.90 ERA, 1.28 WHIP (h/t Fox Sports)
Darvish is the obvious option for the Rangers, as Texas will be in line to start Matt Harrison if the Rangers advance to the ALDS. The 26-year-old rookie has never pitched against the Orioles' lineup, and like Saunders, Darvish had a better first half of the season.
Darvish finished fifth in the AL in terms of strikeouts during the regular season and against a Baltimore lineup that finished No. 6 in collective strikeouts (h/t ESPN), the righty will have an opportunity to rack em' up on Friday.
Projected Starting Lineup:
Kinsler, 2B (.256, 19 HR, 72 RBI)
Andrus, SS (.286, 3 HR, 62 RBI)
Hamilton, CF (.285, 43 HR, 128 RBI)
Beltre, DH (.321, 36 HR, 102 RBI)
Cruz, RF (.260, 24 HR, 90 RBI)
Young, 3B (.277, 8 HR, 67 RBI)
Murphy, LF (.304, 15 HR, 61 RBI)
Napoli, 1B (.227, 24 HR, 56 RBI)
Soto, C (.198, 11 HR, 39 RBI)
We know what the Rangers' lineup is capable of.
First in runs, third in batting average, fourth in on-base percentage and second in slugging percentage. Texas can pile up runs in an instant, and against a starter like Saunders, that's exactly what we may see on Friday.
One through nine, the Rangers can beat you up and down the lineup. It starts with Kinsler, who possesses great leadoff power, and having to pitch to Hamilton and Beltre back-to-back is a nightmare for opposing pitchers.
With guys like Craig Gentry and Mitch Moreland providing depth off the bench, the Rangers' lineup has the clear advantage.