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Buck Showalter has made an unconventional choice for a starting pitcher for a win-or-go-home playoff game.
The Baltimore Orioles' fantastic season has been put together largely because of a lockdown bullpen that has given it an incredible 29-9 mark in one-run games and a 16-2 record in extra-inning affairs, allowing the team to win 93 games despite having a run differential of just plus-seven.
So maybe they're thinking, it doesn't matter who starts the play-in game Friday!
That's the only logical explanation for this:
9.38 ERA at Rangers Ballpark... and they're starting him at Rangers Ballpark. On the other hand, Saunders has pitched pretty well for Baltimore, and discounting the first start he made for them, a rough one, he has a 2.75 ERA in his last six starts, covering 39⅓ innings. And besides, he started Sunday. And tomorrow is Friday, so that's a traditional four days' rest, and managers don't like to get pitchers out of routines, and...
Hey, you never know. It might work. (But it would be way out of character, and past performance.)