|Saunders gets the ball Friday in Arlington. (US Presswire)|
Left-handed veteran Joe Saunders will be the starting pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles on Friday evening in Arlington when they take on the Texas Rangers in the first-ever AL wild-card game, Orioles manager Buck Showalter announced Thursday afternoon.
"(Saunders) is rested and ready to go," Showalter said (ESPN Dallas). "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, 31, has made only seven starts with the Orioles after coming over in a late-August trade from the Arizona Diamondbacks. He's 3-3 with a 3.63 ERA and 1.28 WHIP with Baltimore.
Saunders does have one thing several of his Orioles' rotation mates don't, which is postseason experience. In four career postseason starts, he's 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA.
Also, Saunders has not fared well inside Rangers Ballpark in his career. He's 0-6 with a 9.38 ERA and 1.80 WHIP. That's one of the best hitters parks in the majors, but still a pretty daunting history.
Then again, anything can happen in one game, and the Orioles have been underdogs all season.