ARLINGTON, TEXAS — Orioles manager Buck Showalter has put his team's playoff hopes in the hands of veteran left-hander Joe Saunders, who has been tabbed to start tonight's do-or-die American League wild-card playoff game at Rangers Ballpark.
By now, Saunders' career struggles at Rangers Ballpark -- an 0-6 record with a 9.38 ERA in six starts -- are well documented. We also know that Saunders, who has made most of his starts against the Rangers as a member of the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West, has pitched well with the Orioles, going 3-3 with a 3.63 ERA in seven starts.
But breaking down the Rangers' likely starting lineip against the left-handed Saunders, Texas hits a robust .364 (43-for-118) against the 31-year-old veteran. They've hit nine homers against Saunders and six different players have career averages better than .300 against Saunders. Both Ian Kinsler and Michael Young have had sustained success against the Saunders. Here's how that breaks down by player:
Ian Kinsler: .417, 10-for-24, 2 2B, 4 HR, 8 RBIs, 3 BB
Elvis Andrus: .400, 2-for-5, 1 BB, 2 SB
Josh Hamilton: .400, 4-for-10, 1 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBIs, 1 BB
Adrian Beltre: .280, 7-for-25, 3 2B, 5 RBIs, 4 K
Nelson Cruz: .300, 6-for-20, 1 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBIs, 3 K
Michael Young: .357, 10-for-28, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBIs, 4 BB, 6 K
Mike Napoli: Never faced
Geovany Soto: .667, 4-for-6, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBIs, 2 BBDavid Gentry: Never faced