This may be Buck’s biggest decision since he’s become manager of the Orioles.
Who to start in the 1 game play-in between Texas and Baltimore? The 2 candidates appear to be Joe Saunders and Steve Johnson. On the surface, it appears to be a no-brainer.
Saunders is a veteran and has been in the playoffs. Johnson has never pitched on this kind of state. So why would I start the rookie? Because Saunders has been shelled at the Ballpark in Arlington. His numbers are worse there than any other stadium. He is 0-6 in 6 starts, with an ERA of 9.4 and has given up 13 homers in 6 games.
Johnson has never started there, but he’s 4-0 with an ERA of 2.11 in 12 games this year. He presents the unknown, but sometimes what you don’t know is better than what you know.