I believe the Orioles will prevail in this foolish one-and-done experiment this evening.
1) Texas has played very badly down the stretch. After blowing a nearly sure-thing divisional title, they might be able to right the ship in one game
2) The O's did not hit well against TB in the final series (but who has hit well against the Rays?) but overall they have played well down the stretch, basically staying within a game of the Yankees for a full month before finally succumbing on the final day
3) O's don't have a legitimate starting pitcher for this game, which many baseball experts feel is a big minus. I think it is in keeping with the way Buck has utilized his pitching staff for most the 2nd half. Give the ball to whose turn it may be, and expect a decent performance.
4) Saunders has a terrible record in Arlington. All the more reason for an upset. Nobody expects him to do well. 'nobody' in that case knows the 2012 Orioles and their tenacity to win big games.
5) Showalter used to manage Texas. He says there is no special motivation to beat them. Yeah.....
6) Showalter also used to be employed by the Yankees and to a man, I think the O's are super motived to get another crack at the Evil Empire in a legitimate series. I believe the underdog O's (even tho they have identical records with Texas) want to win this one more
7) The hitters will snap out of their mini-slump, being happy to be away from the Rays. Darvish is a worthy foe for sure, but he is a 'rookie' (in N.A.) and who knows how he will respond to the pressure of having to do well for a team that has really looked pretty bad lately
8) Throw all the records and stats out in a one game showdown. Sure the O's have played badly against Texas. All the more reason for an upset. I doubt too many people are picked the O's to win this game.
9) Baltimore wants to give its fans at least 2 more home games. They have come too far this season to see it end abruptly.
10) They have Jim Thome---the venerable veteran thrives on these situations and may still have one more magic AB left in his career.
Defying most the 'odds' and the stats, I believe the O's will pull this one off and move on in the 2012 playoffs against the Yankees. It would be fitting for these two teams to meet head to head again after than great September chase.
So, GO O's!!!! Bring home the victory!!!!