2012 MLB Playoffs logo2012 MLB Playoffs

AL Wild Card Schedule 2012: What to Watch for in Orioles vs. Rangers

October 2, 2012; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter (26) reacts in the dugout against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Baltimore Orioles defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IOctober 3, 2012

After getting ousted for the AL West division title by the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday, the Texas Rangers will host the surprising Baltimore Orioles in the wild-card round.

The single-elimination wild-card game will take place on Friday at 8:30 p.m. ET on TBS.

The Orioles have surged down the stretch, going a combined 37-18 in August and September. Since the All-Star break, they've had the fifth-best team ERA (3.72) in the American League and are tied for the fourth-most runs in the AL (360).

They've won series against the Tampa Bay Rays (twice) and New York Yankees (twice) during that span, but they lost their final series of the regular season to the Rays.

On the other hand, the Orioles have gone 2-5 against the Rangers this season, including when they were outscored by a combined 13 runs in two games against Texas in August.

But what is interesting about the Rangers is that they went 19-10 in August, but they have gone 15-16 since, including just getting swept by the Athletics to end the regular season. In fact, they haven't won a series since they took two out of three against the Los Angeles Angels on Sept. 20. 

So why has Texas struggled lately?

Well, being ranked ninth out of 14 AL teams in team ERA in September (4.39) didn't help. They also ranked eighth in the league in runs scored (124) in September. 

They were outscored, 19-9, in their final three regular-season games against the Athletics, including a 12-5 blowout on Wednesday. That has a way of sucking the life out of you.

This has all the makings of an Orioles victory in Arlington on Friday. Texas is clearly missing starter Colby Lewis and Baltimore has momentum on its side.


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