Big edge for Yu Darvish: Hasn't faced O's
ARLINGTON, Texas -- As the Texas Rangers know well, having the edge on paper doesn't necessarily translate into a win. But there's little doubt that when it comes to starting pitching for Friday's AL wild-card game, the Rangers have the advantage.
The Rangers send Yu Darvish to the mound. He's been the club's best pitcher the last seven weeks and he'll get a chance to show his stuff in the postseason. The Orioles will send either Steve Johnson or Joe Saunders to the mound. Saunders hasn't pitched well in Arlington and Johnson, a rookie with four starts, is dealing with a sore knee.
But besides the pure numbers that favor Darvish, so does the fact that the Orioles have never faced him. That's a big deal. Why? Because Darvish has pitched very well against teams he's seen for the first time. He is 10-3 with a 3.12 ERA against teams he's pitched against for the first time this season (95 innings pitched). Darvish has 108 strikeouts and 41 walks in those outings as well.
The last team to face him that hadn't seen him all year was the Tampa Bay Rays, who made a charge at the wild card late in the season. Darvish threw seven shutout innings against them in Arlington in August.
So besides the fact that Darvish is working on eight straight quality starts and a 2.35 ERA with opponents hitting just .176 in those starts, he's got the added bonus that the Orioles hitters have only seen film of him. On paper, at least, that should be a big edge.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.