ARLINGTON, Texas -- With the AL wild-card game now hours away, it's time for some predictions. It's unanimous from the folks we asked at ESPN Dallas that the Rangers come out with a victory. Why?
For starters, Yu Darvish. He's pitched like an ace down the stretch and there's little to suggest that won't continue against a team that has not seen him before. I think that's a big advantage for Darvish. Also, Orioles' starter Joe Saunders has one of the worst ERAs at Rangers Ballpark of anyone with a minimum of five starts. Only Jose Contreras' 10.17 ERA is worse than Saunders' 9.38, according to the folks at ESPN Stats & Information.
The other reason is that this team is at home in front of its fans. It's a playoff game and it will be electric in there. That can only help a Rangers team that has to forget about what happened the last few weeks and just play its game. I think they will.
Durrett's prediction: Rangers 5, Orioles 2
Other staff predictions:
Ben Rogers: Rangers win, 4-2. Comment: Darvish is the truth. Prepare to behold a glorious gem.
Mike Peasley: Rangers win, 7-2. Comment: Darvish has been the Rangers' most consistent starter down the stretch while Joe Saunders has had zero success in Arlington. Those two things plus the home crowd lift Texas to the ALDS.
Jean-Jacques Taylor: Rangers win, 4-2.
Todd Archer: Rangers, 5-2. The Rangers can't let Buck Showalter end their season, can they? Survive and advance.
Tim MacMahon: Rangers, 2-1. Darvish pitches a gem that doesn't include any pop flies to center field.
Jeff "Skin" Wade: Rangers, 3-1. Orioles enter the 36th Chamber of the Yu and do not make it out alive.