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Orioles vs Rangers: Date, Time, TV Info, Live Stream & AL Wild Card Game Preview

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Orioles vs Rangers: Date, Time, TV Info, Live Stream & AL Wild Card Game Preview
J. Meric/Getty Images

What do you get when you combine one Texas Rangers collapse and a second-place finish for the Baltimore Orioles in the American League East?

You get the AL's wild-card play-in matchup, that's what.

Texas and Baltimore will be the second wild-card game on Friday, with the Cardinals and Braves facing off in the first contest.

The Rangers enter the game on a monumental skid. Baltimore hasn't been in the postseason since 1997.

The expectations facing these two squads couldn't be more different, and only one squad will have a chance to realize theirs.

Let's preview Friday's AL wild-card game.

 

When: Friday, October 5 at 8:37 p.m. ET

Where: Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Arlington, TX

Watch: TBS

Stream: Postseason.tv

 

Orioles Injury Report (via ESPN.com)

Wilson Betemit, Wrist, Day-to-Day

Jason Hammel, Knee, Day-to-Day

Nick Markakis, Thumb, Day-to-Day

Randy Wolf, Elbow, 60-Day-DL

 

Rangers Injury Report (via ESPN.com)

Mike Adams, Mild Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, Day-to-Day

Adrian Beltre, Shoulder, Day-to-Day

 

Orioles Starting Pitcher Assessment, Joe Saunders

Greg Fiume/Getty Images

While there were some initial questions about who would start this critical game, manager Buck Showalter decided to keep his rotation on regular rest and go with Joe Saunders.

The left-hander was acquired by Baltimore on Aug. 26 and has been solid ever since, compiling a 3-3 record with a 3.63 ERA and 1.28 WHIP in seven starts. 

Though not as flashy as his Rangers counterpart, Saunders does have four postseason starts under his belt. While the results leave something to be desired (the lefty has a 6.00 career postseason ERA), that experience could pay huge dividends in a close game.

 

Rangers Starting Pitcher Assessment, Yu Darvish

Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Darvish's first postseason start is going to be a big one, as it's a win-or-go-home scenario for his squad.

He's 16-9 with a 3.90 ERA in 29 starts this season, and his 221 strikeouts are the AL's third-highest total.

Darvish had to miss a start last week, but that didn't stop him from turning in another quality start against the Angels on Sunday.

Texas' prized possession from the offseason will have a major chance to show that he was worth the $100-plus million the Rangers paid him. A big start will completely win the fans over and prove his worth as a clutch pitcher.

 

Orioles Player to Watch: Adam Jones

Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE

This is Jones' first career postseason appearance, as is the case for most of Baltimore's roster. The team will need a big performance from its center fielder if they want to advance.

Jones finished the season hitting .287 with 32 home runs and 82 RBI. He also has 16 stolen bases.

In terms of talent, Jones is one of the league's budding stars. He's a five-tool player, waiting to breakout on baseball's biggest stage.

 

Rangers Player to Watch: Josh Hamilton

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Hamilton is the Rangers rock at the plate, but he hasn't fared well in his postseason career.

Overall, he's played in six series. He's hitting .234 with six home runs and 22 RBI, far below what you would expect from a player of his caliber.

Now, in a one-game lose-or-go-home scenario, Hamilton must step up. In this case, the playoffs must be taken one game at a time.

If Hamilton can't find his stroke, Texas could struggle.

 

Prediction

Who wins?

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The Rangers have lost seven of their final 10 games. Something like that is tough to overcome, World Series experience or not.

Baltimore hasn't tasted the postseason since 1997. They won't go down easy, and they won't go down on Sunday.

Darvish, as solid as he's been this year, has never faced pressure like this in the major leagues, and that will play a role in Friday's loss.

Look for the Orioles to advance to face their American League East rival New York Yankees on Sunday in Camden Yards.

Score: Baltimore 7, Texas 5

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