O's tab Joe Saunders to start wild-card game

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Baltimore Orioles veteran Joe Saunders will start Friday's American League wild-card game against the Texas Rangers, manager Buck Showalter announced Thursday.

Showalter said Saunders' experience, along with the fact that the Orioles are unsure Steve Johnson's knee was going to be 100 percent, impacted the decision to start Saunders against the two-time defending AL champions.

"(Saunders) is rested and ready to go," Showalter said. "He's pitched some in the playoffs. We've said that our No. 1 starter is the guy pitching that day. Our whole rotation has been a sum of the parts. Joe has pitched well for us since he's been here. He's got a tough task ahead of him."

Saunders does not have good numbers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington in his career. He's 0-6 with a 9.38 ERA in six starts. The left-hander hasn't pitched in Texas since 2010, when he had one of his better starts in the park, allowing one run on seven hits, but still got the loss.

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