ARLINGTON, Texas - The Orioles’ starters were just introduced, joining the reserves to form a long line from home plate to third base.
Ryan Flaherty was the next-to-last player to run out of the dugout. He’s also the first Rule 5 player to start a postseason game after being drafted the previous winter since the Dodgers’ Chad Fonville in 1995, according to STATS Inc.
Fonville was selected by the Expos from the Giants’ organization in the 1994 Rule 5 draft, designated for assignment on May 26, 1995 and signed off waivers by the Dodgers on May 31. He started all three playoff games for the Dodgers at shortstop while they were being swept by the Reds.
The last Rule 5 player to start a postseason game for the team that drafted him was the Phillies’ Shane Victorino last year. Victorino was selected by the Phillies in the winter of 2004.
Earlier today, Rangers manager Ron Washington was asked about Orioles left-hander Joe Saunders, who’s 3-7 with a 6.48 ERA in 11 career starts against the Rangers, and 0-6 with a 9.38 ERA in Texas, with 41 hits allowed, 16 walks and 13 home runs in 31 2/3 innings.
“Well, I haven’t seen Joe Saunders in a long time,” Washington said. “From what I understand and what I’ve been reading in the reports, he’s not the guy that I remember reading about when he was in Anaheim, so I think we just have to wait and see. We know he’s going to use his off-speed. We’ve certainly got to make sure we get the ball up in the zone, not do a whole lot of chasing, make him come to us.
“As far as how we handled him in the past, that gives you a little confidence, but you’ve got to handle him the way he is today. We don’t know where he is today until we get out there and see, so we’ll go by what we got on reports, what we can find out by watching on film, and then once the game starts, everybody will know.”
Tonight’s game is airing on TNT, but will switch to TBS once coverage ends of the Cardinals’ 6-3 win over the Braves in the National League wild card game.
Update: Talk about a short leash. Steve Johnson started warming in the bullpen after Saunders faced two batters - walking Ian Kinsler and giving up a single to Elvis Andrus.
Josh Hamilton grounded into a 4-6-3 double play as the tying run scored.
Both starters threw 17 pitches in the first inning.