Poll: Orioles or Rangers?

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(Gregory Shamus/Getty)

In about 12 hours, the Yankees will finally know who they will be playing in the ALDS. The Orioles and Rangers will square off in the first ever AL Wildcard Play-In game later tonight, the winner of whom will welcome the Bombers to their stadium for Game One on Sunday while the loser goes home for the season. It’s a harsh new playoff system, and frankly it’s not all that fair that the Yankees will have to open the series on the road despite finishing with the best record in the league. Thankfully that will change next year.

Anyway, the Orioles remained in the AL East hunt right until Game 162, though the Rangers were considered the best team in baseball for a large part of the season. They are the two-time defending AL champs, of course. There are reasons to want to play and avoid both teams, but the road to the World Series is never easy. The Yankees will have to play a quality opponent in the ALDS regardless, and each offers unique strengths and weaknesses.

Baltimore Orioles (head-to-head record: 9-9, -2 run differential)
Buck Showalter’s Orioles gave the Yankees a fight all season, including winning six of nine at Yankee Stadium. They hit the second most homers (214) and stole the fewest bases (58) in baseball this season, and their bullpen was one of the game’s most effective units (3.00 ERA and 3.68 FIP). Baltimore’s starters are relatively nondescript, but they do feature two southpaws in Wei-Yin Chen and Joe Saunders. The Yankees struggled against lefties this season (110 wRC+), at least relative to what they’ve done the last few years. Saunders is starting the play-in game tonight and Jason Hammel (3.43 ERA and 3.29 FIP) will return to the rotation to start Game One of the ALDS if they beat Texas. Showalter is also as good as it gets in terms of his in-game moves as well, consistently putting his players in the best possible position to succeed.

(Jared Wickerham/Getty)

Texas Rangers (head-to-head record: 4-3, +3 run differential)
The Rangers are a lot like the Orioles and Yankees in that they hit a ton of homers (200), but they also led the AL with a .273 AVG and stole a healthy 91 bases. Their offense is very right-handed, with Josh Hamilton and David Murphy representing their two best lefty threats. The bullpen (3.42 ERA and 3.67 FIP) is strong but lacking setup man extraordinaire Mike Adams, who is out with a shoulder problem. That’s an enormous blow, it would be like taking David Robertson away from the Yankees. Matt Harrison and Derek Holland given them a pair of left-handed starters (Harrison is lined up to start a potential Game One of the ALDS), though they will burn Yu Darvish in the play-in game tonight. He was arguably the best pitcher in the game the last month of the season (2.21 ERA and 1.89 FIP). Ron Washington is generally considered a weak strategic manager, which is worth mentioning.

* * *

Texas carries a bit more of an aura given their success the last two years, but the Orioles have proven doubters wrong all season and have shown they will not go away quietly. Anyone can beat anyone in a best-of-five series in this league, but that doesn’t mean favorable matchups don’t exist. I just have no idea who I would rather see the Yankees play in the ALDS.

Who do you want the Yankees to play in the ALDS?
Total Votes: 1517 Started: October 5, 2012 Back to Vote Screen
Mailbag: Phelps, Wildcard, Catchers, Cano
RAB Live Chat
  • Cy Pettitte

    Rangers. Using Yu in the play in game means facing Harrison and Holland in games 1 and 2 and possibly Dempster in game 3 or Yu on short rest (who nows how he’ll handle that), Orioles are using Saunders so they’ll have all 3 of their best starting pitchers available for the first 3. Texas line up may be better than Baltimore but at this point the Baltimore pen is much better.

    • CountryClub

      Yu would be on regular rest for game 3; it’s on Wednesday.

    • OldYanksFan

      I’m kinda surprised, but I agree.

  • Sayid

    I think the difference between the two teams is small enough that I want the Orioles so that the Yankees can say they defeated a division rival.

  • CountryClub

    You should have a “it doesn’t matter option”. That’s what I’d pick.

    • tommydee2000

      I agree: I hate to choose.

      Remember when we wanted the Tigers in 2006 and lost in 5?

      • tommydee2000

        Oops. Too fast

    • tommydee2000

      I agree: I hate to choose.

      Remember when we wanted the Tigers in 2006 and lost in 4?

  • Eddard reboot v.1.0

    I’d rather see them beat the Orioles but I think the Rangers will be an easier out due to their horrific starting staff. Darvish will be used up tonight so who else do they have? Dumpster who we crushed, Holland who we crush every single time and Harrison is their best I guess. That’s no match for CC, Andy, Hiroki and Phil. But I think a series with the Os in which the Yankees win would be more enjoyable.

  • Silverback

    I’d still prefer the Twins

    • Preston


    • Winter

      If we’re allowed to do this, can I propose we play the Astros?

    • Thud

      I would prefer a team that has lost all of its pride. Give me the 2012 Red Sux.

    • j-dog

      lol. seriously – can we pick the twins instead?

  • Kramerica Industries

    When push comes to shove, I would rather face the team with less true talent.

    That team is Baltimore.

    As such, give me some O’s.

    • Jim Is Bored

      Despite our best efforts, our stats still don’t show what the “True talent” of a team is. They’re all estimates, albeit with different error bars.

      The O’s could have the most true talent between the two teams.

      • http://twitter.com/#!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

        I don’t follow. I see the O’s has having less “true talent” than any of the ten playoff participants. Am I missing something?

      • jay

        “The O’s could have the most true talent”

        I know the metrics aren’t perfect, but based on what metric is it even possible that O’s have more talent than the Rangers? We may not know how much more talent the Rangers have, but we definitely know they have more.

        • Cris Pengiucci

          W/L record & run differential? I mean, based on run differential they shouldn’t have won as many games as they did. If it were close, you could say it was “luck”, but they far exceeded expectations. Should have been around .500. This is more than luck. Perhaps it is talent. They seem to exceed expectations in tough situations. I don’t know, just throwing this out there as a possible explanation.

  • blake

    I don’t like to wish for opponents….I just hope they play 20 innings and blow out both bullpens.

    • jjyank

      This is the best case scenario for sure.

  • your mom

    I’d rather face the Orioles. The Rangers have been to the World Series the last 2 years. They have more veteran presents.

    • jay

      I hear Michael Young brings iPads. Every game.

    • UpstateYanks

      LOL “veteran presents”

      • OldYanksFan

        Really. These guys fought our wars for us. WE should be giving THEM presents.

    • JamesStark

      Haha. I see this guy say “presents” all the time. I assume its sarcasm based on someone else saying presents a week or so ago I remember seeing.

    • JamesStark

      Haha. I see this guy say “presents” all the time. I assume its sarcasm based on someone else saying presents a week or so ago I remember seeing.

  • Nathan


    I’d rather not have to see Nolan Ryan’s face on the TV every few minutes.

    • Joey from Jersey

      +1. Also could do with less “these pitchers today are babied. Back in my day …..” comments He was a great pitcher in his day but is a complete tool.

      Sincerely – Shmuck Bowalter

      • CUYanks

        Colby Lewis/Neftali Feliz, etc etc really are babies, after all.

  • Preston

    I want the Rangers, have no logical reason for it. The Rangers have a better lineup, and it’s not really close, they also have the better pitching staff in my opinion. I’d give a slight edge to the O’s bullpen, but it’s not like the Rangers don’t have plenty of arms out there. I’m just sick of the Orioles, they suck, they shouldn’t be here, I don’t want to listen to this team of destiny crap. I don’t want to hear how clutch they are or how great Buck Showalter is. I want them to lose. If they beat the Yankees in a series I would be enraged. I just want there season over with. Then we can continue the playoffs against a good Rangers team, who I think we can beat, and I will no longer have to deal with my irrational hate for the Orioles.

    • http://twitter.com/#!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

      Dude.. +1000. This is exactly how I feel. I think the Orioles are significantly worse than Texas, but I’ve always hated them, I’m tired of hearing about them and Buck, and I can’t deal with the hoopla that would ensue if the Yanks lost to them. I just want them gone tonight.

      • JAG

        This is the best reason ever. I’d like to be able to watch the broadcast without muting it at least once during the ALDS because I just can’t stand hearing about how the Orioles are the team of destiny anymore. We’re already going to hear it if we face the As in the ALCS.

        • detroit_yankee

          “I just can’t stand hearing about how the Orioles are the team of destiny anymore”

          Don’t watch the Oakland/Detroit series, then. That’s all you’ll hear about the A’s (plus how “scrappy” their “scruffy” lineup is).

      • goterpsgo

        The only team I hate more than the 0’s are the Sox. And plus I agree TEX has a pretty rough pitching staff after Darvish.

        • JamesStark

          Dallas Braden makes me wanna puke.

    • Slugger27

      well said, preston. well said.

  • Yankeegirl49

    Orioles..Cano, Jeter, Tex..all kill it in Camden Yards.

  • Josh

    I voted for the Rangers, but I’m slightly scared of Andy or CC going against that lineup, especially if Andy pitches game 2, in Texas. We should start Kuroda in game 2 if we’re playing the Rangers in order to have those righties hit in Yankee Stadium vs Texas.

  • Monty

    Orioles and have CC hit Chris Davis with a fast ball to the face so he can’t hit a home run every game or knock the HGH out of his chin.

    • Jim Is Bored


  • Kosmo

    I don´t see how Saunders will survive 3 innings vs. Texas. He has an extremely bad record pitching in Arlington, lifetime he´s 0-6 with a 9.38 ERA. Texas offense vs. the Orioles bullpen. If Darvish pitches the way he´s been pitching the last 6 weeks no way the Orioles win.

    I like NY vs Texas.

  • vin

    I refuse to vote. But as Silverback said above… I’d prefer they face the Twins.

    Every October I convince myself that the Yankees will have a more favorable matchup against the team they are playing. Yet, I find myself disappointed far too often. That’s when I need to remind myself that the playoffs are a crapshoot, and the WS isn’t necessarily won by that year’s best team.

  • Kosmo

    even thought Mike Adams is doubtful because of his shoulder all Texas has to do is slip Ogando into his set-up role and the problem is solved.
    Texas will miss Colby Lewis if they advance.

    • Kosmo

      even though …

  • Rich in NJ

    I have been burned by choosing an opponent, so either.

  • vin

    “The Yankees struggled against lefties this season (110 wRC+), at least relative to what they’ve done the last few years.”

    I wonder if this is due for a correction now that:
    A) Andruw’s awfulness seems to have finally hit Girardi
    B) Martin’s “resurgence” to respectability at the plate
    C) Nunez getting reps at DH and being effective
    D) Having Ichiro (who’s been hot) in the OF, and a RH at DH, instead of being forced to play both Raul (awful against LH) and Andruw (awful)
    E) Teixeira’s return to the lineup

    • Kosmo

      Ichiro vs LHP as a Yankee .397 average
      Nunez vs LHP .360

      so yes they´ve made a difference.

  • jjyank

    “I just have no idea who I would rather see the Yankees play in the ALDS.”

    These are my thoughts as well, so I didn’t even vote. Whoever the Yanks play, it will be a tough match up. Just gotta hope the Yankees keep rolling.

    • Austin Aunelowitzky

      I’m with you. I didn’t vote either….but I couldn’t wait to click on the link to view results of the poll. I’m looking forward to the two games today.

  • thenamestsam

    Orioles for me, definitely. I just think they have less talent. The Rangers have been scuffling lately, but there are about 7 hitters in that lineup who are capable of carrying them for a 5 game series. I think they’re a sleeping giant. The O’s lineup is much more manageable I think, and as ridiculously solid as that pitching staff has been this year I don’t think it’s that much better than Texas.

  • John Reyes

    If it were a seven game series I’d prefer the O’s since those plucky MFers can luck their way out of a five game series.

  • Mike HC

    Definitely prefer to see the Orioles. Anything to avoid Josh Hamilton is good by me.

  • Sly Robbie

    I voted for the O’s.

    For me, it’s a toss-up. I’d like to see the Yankees face the best competition. I know there are more than a few fans out there who would rather see the Yankees steamroll over weaker teams, but as a long-timer I love the drama, the excitement, and the pure satisfaction of a hard-fought series. Sweeps featuring senseless slaughters are BORING! I love the pressure, seeing how Yankee “stars” rise to the occasion. Even witnessing the “unlikely” heroes emerge, ala Scott Brosius.

    While the Rangers are probably the better of the “play-ins,” I feel that Baltimore will somehow provide a more exciting and memorable series. They have given the Yankees “fits” this season, and their whole “story-line” during their remarkable run is simply captivating. The whole Buck Showalter situation is reminiscent of the ALDS when another former skipper in the opposing dugout “guaranteed” a Game 6, knowing the Mariners still needed to win a Game 5 at Yankee Stadium. That night the Stadium was electric! I had rarely heard the crowd so alive and ecstatic.

    Yeah, so give me an exciting series, where the Yankees have to play hard and rise to the occasion. A boring 7-2 drubbing of the Twinkies every other night? Fuhgeddaboudit!! Leave that nonsense for mid-May.

    Like I said, it’s a toss-up. Would love to see epic match-ups versus Yu Darvish, Josh Hamilton, et al. However, I believe that a Yankees-Orioles showdown (especially given the down-to-the-wire Dogfight that defined this season) would make for a classic play-off series. One for the books, and one that may well be talked about for many years to come.


  • oscar

    From a baseball fan perspective, I’d rather see Yankees-Orioles

  • Andy in Sunny Daytona

    Usually I’d rather have the Yankees face the team that doesn’t have the “Us Against the World” or “Nobody Believed In Us” bullshit going for them, but the Orioles suck and magic doesn’t exist, so bring on Baltimore. The Yankees will beat them down and we can all watch as “magic” and luck even out next year and Baltimore goes back to being a less than 80 win team.

  • Bruce

    First of all, agreee about not choosing. Detriot in ’06 and how about Cleveland in the year of the midge? Definitely looked like the best matchups available at the time. Hindsite….

    Here’s the thing… The Rangers haven’t exactly gone into a tailspin, but they lost a pretty good lead down the stretch. Part of it was due to injuries, sure. But they also didn’t play as well and didn’t beat the ball the way they did through the first 5 months of the year. If I had to pick, I’d pick the team that hasn’t been playing well and just got swept out of a dvivion lead they held all season long until the very last day when it really counted.

    I think I’m going to see if I’m right (for once) because Showalter is inexplicably putting the simply terrible and even worse vs. Texas Joe (I wouldn’t want you in my rotation) Saunders on the mound. Maybe Buck is pulling a bait and switch. We’ll see…

    Enjoy everyone. This time of year is what it’s all about!

  • Sean C

    I picked the O’s. Always seems to be a huge Yankee crowd there, which can give us homefield advantage at the opponent’s park. Plus most of our hitters kill it at Camden.

  • Bill

    Texas. And here’s why in 2 words. Joe. Nathan.

  • Bill

    We can’t play the Twins so the next best thing is their ex-closer who we own in the playoffs. Give me the Rangers

  • Chip Off the Ol’Knoblauch

    I can’t choose. Both teams have their merits and are going to play tough regardless. All I know is I’ll be sitting on my couch, drinking my scotch and yelling at the TV for every missed play, strikeout, and perceived slight from the announcers.

  • Bruce

    Either team is going to give them a run for their money, no doubt. Whoever they get, you do hope they have to work hard to beat them – and hope they can. But I’m not so sure about this team for two very good reasons:
    1. The rotation is not reliable through and through. Sabathia seems to be back to form, but do we really know if Kuroda has shaken off the late season malaise? Pettitte is usually reliable in post season but not always. Let’s assume we can count on him for now. So I’ve got two, maybe three guys I can count on. If I have three, I’m in good shape. Two and it’s shaky but possible. If one of those two don’t come through or lose a tight one, I’m in big trouble and looking at an early ticket home. Yeah, I know I didn’t mention Hughes or Phelps. That’s because I can’t count on them. Hughes because he’s proven I can’t and Phelps because he hasn’t had a chance to prove I can. And he’s still not stretched out. In a series where you can expect to see most of the relievers every game (you know we will), we need length from all four starters.
    2. The lineup has been real streaky all year. I never know what to expect from them on a game to game basis. If Cano, Jeter, Ichiro and Swish keep raking, I’ll take my chances. Hopefully they get some help. But I wouldn’t be too surprised if they get shut down on any given day (except Cano – that would surprise me).

    So yeah, let’s hope they play up to their capabilities and get tested and make and are ready for each successive round all the way to the Canyon of Heroes. Just don’t expect me to hold my breath. This ride could be bumpy.

  • FLYER7

    Losing 8 of your last 9 and the division lead you held virtually the whole season is certainly a tailspin lol

    • Bruce

      True. I stand corrected.

  • FLYER7

    Losing 8 of your last 9 and the division lead you held virtually the whole season is certainly a tailspin lol

  • dkidd

    orioles. not even close

    i’m assuming a split of the first 2 games, and i don’t want to face darvish in the swing game

  • oldmanalex

    All i know is that for some reason, I think the A’s will advance to the ALCS. Man, if we can make it there too.. a matchup with the A’s will be one of the most favourable ALCS matchups in like forever. (not to jinx it)

  • dkidd

    and for everyone saying how annoying the orioles are, do you really want a week of

    nolan ryan cutaways
    the stupid antler thing
    elvis andrus’ ridiculous babip

    the rangers are a thousand times more annoying than the orioles

    • FIPster Doofus

      The antler thing wouldn’t come into play that much, as the Yankees would dispose of Texas rather easily.

  • Joe F

    O’s but we’ll beat either in 4 or 5.

  • Tcmiller30

    I voted O’s. and I’d like to see the Yankees beat them 3 straight times by 1 run in extra innings so people can drop the “they’re so good in close games!” Thing and the O’s and Buck can return to earth and get situated for 4th place next year.

    I’m sick on the media. That’s about it. I actually don’t mind the O’s (other than Buck who is a douche). haha

  • CS Yankee

    I view Buck as a solid manager, Ron as an idiot…
    Texas bats as beastly, O’s as just above average…
    O’s pen as a lock, T’s as just above average…
    O’s starters as solid, T’s just has Yu…

    Kind of wish we had the one game playoff against either team. Texas I (still) view as overall better but I want 2010 revenge against the wildlife parts of them Rangers.

    Here is to tonights game lasting 31 innings.

  • JamesStark

    A guy at the college football game I was at the other day said “last time I wore my Jersey when we played this team we lost”. I’m guessing about 100,000 people were wearing jerseys during that game too…