Friday night is a historic night. Baseball now has five playoff teams in each league. Two wild card teams from each league will square off against each other in a do or die playoff.
The American League wild-card playoff takes place in Texas as the Baltimore Orioles play the Texas Rangers. On paper, the Rangers have the advantage. However, if you went by what is on paper, the Orioles wouldn’t even be in the playoffs.
The Rangers have owned the Orioles this season. The Rangers won the season series 5-2 while outscoring the Orioles 56-24. On the other hand, the Rangers have been struggling badly as of late. They ended the season going 3-7 in their final 10 games and being swept by the Oakland Athletics. The Orioles have gone 38-20 since August and are riding the high of making the playoffs for the first time in 15 seasons.
All these numbers really mean nothing when it comes down to it. It all comes down to one game for both these teams. You can analyze all the stats and go into detail analyzing the pitching match up of Joe Saunders and Yu Darvish. However, it’s as simple as any team can win on any given day.
The Rangers have the better team on paper, but the Orioles have been playing better baseball as of late. The Rangers also have to deal with a lot more pressure going into this game. The Rangers were expected to be a World Series contender. Getting knocked out in the one game wild-card would not look good. The Orioles have already beaten all expectations. They can just go out and play baseball.
The winner of Friday night’s game will then go on and face the New York Yankees in the divisional series. It’s impossible to break down one game in baseball by looking at the statistics. I say just sit back, watch, and enjoy Friday night’s game as the Orioles and Rangers play in baseball’s first ever one game AL wild-card playoff.