A capsule look at Orioles-Rangers wild-card game

Associated Press Published: October 4, 2012
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A look at the American League wild-card playoff between the Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers:

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Schedule: Friday, at Arlington, Texas (8:37 p.m. EDT). (TBS).

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Season Series: Rangers won 5-2.

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Projected Lineups:

Orioles: LF Nate McLouth (.268, 7 HRs, 18 RBIs, 12 SBs), SS J.J. Hardy (.238, 22, 68), RF Chris Davis (.270, 33, 85, 169 Ks), CF Adam Jones (.287, 32, 82, 16 SBs), C Matt Wieters (.249, 23, 83), DH Jim Thome (.257, 3, 10 in 28 games), 1B Mark Reynolds (.221, 23, 69), 2B Ryan Flaherty (.216, 6, 19), 3B Manny Machado (.262, 7, 26).

Rangers: 2B Ian Kinsler (.256, 19, 72, 21 SBs, 105 runs), SS Elvis Andrus (.286, 3, 62, 21 SBs), CF Josh Hamilton (.285, 43, 128, 162 Ks, 60 BBs, 103 runs), 3B Adrian Beltre (.321, 36, 102), RF Nelson Cruz (.260, 24, 90), DH Michael Young (.277, 8, 67), LF David Murphy (.304, 15, 61), C Mike Napoli (.227, 24, 56), 1B Mitch Moreland (.275, 15, 50).

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Starting Pitchers:

Orioles: LHP Joe Saunders (3-3, 3.63 ERA, 23 Ks, 8 BBs in 44 2-3 innings over 7 starts with Orioles).

Rangers: RH Yu Darvish (16-9, 3.90, 221 Ks, 191 1-3 IP).

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Relievers:

Orioles: RH Jim Johnson (2-1, 2.49, major league-leading 51/54 saves), RH Pedro Strop (5-2, 2.44, 3 saves, 58 Ks in 66 1-3 IP), RH Darren O'Day (7-1, 2.28, 2 saves in 69 games), RH Luis Ayala (5-5, 2.64), LH Brian Matusz (6-10, 4.87 in 34 games, 16 starts), RH Tommy Hunter (7-8, 5.45, 32 HRs in 33 games, 20 starts), LH Troy Patton (1-0, 2.43 ERA in 54 games).

Rangers: RH Joe Nathan (3-5, 2.80, 37/40 saves, 78 Ks, 64 1-3 IP), RH Alexi Ogando (2-0, 3.27, 3 saves, 66 Ks, 66 IP), RH Koji Uehara (0-0, 1.75, 37 appearances), LH Robbie Ross (6-0, 2.22 in 58 appearances), RH Scott Feldman (6-11, 5.09 in 29 games, 21 starts), RH Roy Oswalt (4-3, 5.80 in 17 games, 9 starts), LH Michael Kirkman (1-2, 3.82), RH Mark Lowe (0-2, 3.43).

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Matchups:

Hamilton became the 16th player in major league history with four homers in a game, May 8 in a 10-3 win at Baltimore. He was 5 for 5 with an AL-record 18 total bases. Hamilton has 11 career homers in 38 games against the Orioles. ... Baltimore is the only AL team that Darvish, the 26-year-old rookie from Japan, didn't face in the regular season. ... The Rangers acquired Uehara from Baltimore in a trade on July 31, 2011, a deal that sent Davis and Hunter to the O's. ... Before giving up two-out single to Oakland's Brandon Moss in his last regular-season appearance, Uehara had retired 25 consecutive batters (15 strikeouts). ... Texas scored at least 10 runs three times against the O's this season. ... Orioles skipper Buck Showalter was the Rangers' manager from 2002-06 before being fired and replaced by Ron Washington. Showalter was 319-329 with the Rangers and never finished better than third in the AL West, even during an 89-win season in 2004 when Texas remained in the division chase until the final week. ... Kinsler's rookie season was in 2006 under Showalter. Other Texas players who were around under Showalter are Cruz, Feldman, injured pitcher Colby Lewis and Young. ... Cruz is a .366 hitter with six homers and 30 RBIs in 35 career games vs. Baltimore. ... Nathan made two non-save appearances vs. Baltimore this season, with four strikeouts in two innings. In 19 career appearances, he has converted all 10 save chances while allowing four runs with 25 strikeouts in 20 innings. ... Texas went 5-1 last year against the Orioles, then opened this season's series between the teams with wins of 14-3 and 10-3, a big reason why Baltimore had a negative run-differential until September. The Rangers also won 12-3 on Aug. 22. Baltimore's two wins in the series this year were by scores of 6-5 and 5-3.

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Big Picture:

Orioles: First playoff appearance for Baltimore since 1997. Orioles (93-69) were in competition for AL East title until final day, then lost 4-1 at Tampa Bay to end up on road in wild-card round. ... Baltimore had 14 consecutive losing seasons and four straight last-place finishes before turning it around under Showalter, now in his second full season. This is also Dan Duquette's first season as executive vice president of baseball operations. Through shrewd trades and free-agents additions, he added much-needed depth to a thin roster. ... Orioles went 29-9 in one-run games and have won amazing 16 straight in extra innings. ... Johnson's 51 saves are a club record, shattering Randy Myers' mark of 45 in 1997. ... Davis homered in six straight games before streak ended in regular-season finale. His late push enabled him to overtake Jones as team leader in HRs and RBIs. ... Machado was playing for Double-A Bowie when the Orioles purchased his contract on Aug. 9 and made him the starting 3B. Although groomed to be a shortstop, the 20-year-old rookie has handled the hot corner efficiently and showed surprising punch at the plate. ... Jones played in all 162 games. Orioles are 23-8 when he homers.

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