In this 3 vs. 14 match up out of the Weaver region, Joe Saunders out pitching Yu Darvish in the Wild Card game takes on Buck Showalter’s prank of Darren O’Day when the Orioles visited the New York Mets last season.
#3 – Joe Saunders outpitches Yu Darvish in the Wild Card game
A lot of people will remember the 2012 Orioles in a lot of different ways. I prefer to remember them as the Kings of the Garage Sale. Over the course of the season, they picked up a lot of players considered to be at best subpar and at worst junk, and repurposed them. Joe Saunders wasn’t quite at Nate McLouth’s “broken vacuum cleaner” value, but he wasn’t really considered a prize coming over from Arizona (4.22 ERA with ARI). Which is why it was such a shock to see him staring the Orioles first playoff game against a Rangers team that had taken him for a ride more than once (after the playoff game, his ERA is STILL 6.48 vs Texas).
Opposing him was rookie phenom Yu Darvish, who after a rollercoaster season had settled in as one of the most dominant pitchers in the month of September (3-0, 2.21 ERA). Even with the Rangers slumping, this looked like quite a mismatch. But the Orioles Magic rubbed off on Saunders, and he went out and shut down a potent Rangers lineup for an adequate 5.2 IP, and Darvish couldn’t match him. Maybe it was the Orioles Magic, maybe it was the slumping Rangers, but it was great to see it happen to Saunders, a local product who couldn’t have been more proud to get the start, until he ended up getting the win.
#14 – Buck Showalter Darren O’Day prank
It helps that this was done in Citi Field and involved a former Met (or does it, WHY THE HELL DID WE LET O’DAY GO?!) It also helps that I laughed my ass off when I watched this. “Why don’t we get elephants and dancing bears?” Buck sold it, and I heard Scorcese took notice. As with the Reynolds high five, it’s great to see a manager so close with his team. The chicken or the egg question is whether they were close because they were winning or if they were winning because they were close. But there is no question with the SoloWheel, that is one of the silliest things I’ve ever seen. O’Day can endorse it all he wants (anyone at all surprised that a sidearm bullpen guy endorses an electric unicycle?), you wouldn’t catch me dead on one of those.
Voting is open from 11:00 AM on Sunday February 24 to 11:00 AM Monday February 25.