Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter announced that Joe Saunders will start against the Texas Rangers in Friday’s Wild Card game. Showalter was considering using Steve Johnson for the assignment but opted to go with the more experienced Saunders. The Orioles must win Friday to advance in the playoffs. The winner will play in the AL Divisional Series against he New York Yankees.
Since joining the Orioles Saunders has pitched well. He has a 3.63 ERA and a 23/8 K/BB ratio in his eight starts with the Orioles. Showalter is said to be considering using all options in the bullpen and may began playing “match-ups” as soon as the fifth inning.
The Rangers were swept by the Oakland Athletics to end the regular season. Those losses dropped Texas from a lead in the AL West to a Wild Card team.
Saunders was acquired by the Orioles in late August from the Arizona Diamondbacks.