The Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles will kick off their first ever divisional round matchup on Saturday afternoon at Orioles Park. The two teams played in the first-ever one-game AL Wild Card playoff back in 2012. Baltimore won that game and moved on to the divisional round. These two teams go at it again in October for a chance to play in the AL Championship Series. All of our writers have examined this matchup from every angle and we watched the wild card round intently. We are now back with our predictions for the divisional round.
So please let me start by saying I've never been happier about being wrong. I was only half wrong. I did begin the Wild Card prediction by saying that I believed the winner of game one would take the series. But indeed, I was wrong about which team would do it and in how many games ... okay so like 67% wrong. Okay, so I'll just admit I was wrong and move on. This series honestly looks a lot like the Tampa series did. The difference in this one though, is that both teams met much earlier in the season, so there are a lot more intangibles at play here. Both have undergone some changes since late May, making it a little harder to know what to expect.
Here are some key things to consider, though. The Rangers outscored the Orioles in season meetings by a score of 26-19. Baltimore named Kyle Bradish and Grayson Rodriguez to start for the first two games, while Bochy has decided to go with Andrew Heaney and Jordan Montgomery. Bradish looked really good against the Ranger lineup in his small sample size. (Remember, one game was cut short by injury.) On the other hand, Rodriguez took it on the chin both times he faced Texas.
This is why I expect a split in Baltimore to start the series, and then the Rangers will take care of business at home in the first two playoff games they'll ever play at Globe Life Field. This fanbase has been waiting for this time for a very long time, and this team has figured out how to put things into high gear under high pressure. That's right ... Rangers in four with no need for a return trip to Camden Yards.
Prediction: Texas Rangers in 4
The Texas Rangers won their first playoff series since 2011. But, just how far can they go? Assuming the bats continue to rack up runs, and the pitching stays consistent, then the sky is the limit for the team.
I believe the Rangers' celebrations will continue past Baltimore. This is definitely going to be a tough series, as the Orioles have the best record in the American League.
Adolis Garcia will rise to the occasion and be the difference maker in this series. He will continue where he left off in game 2 against Tampa Bay. I expect him to hit two home- runs this series.
The series will go five games, as Texas’ pitching will be put to the test.I have the Rangers winning a nail bitter. Give me Texas in five!