Wild Card Game lineups: Orioles vs. Rangers

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Here are the Orioles’ and Rangers’ lineups for the Wild Card playoff game:

   BALTIMORE ORIOLES         TEXAS RANGERS
1. Nate McLouth, LF       1. Ian Kinsler, 2B
2. J.J. Hardy, SS         2. Elvis Andrus, SS
3. Chris Davis, RF        3. Josh Hamilton, LF
4. Adam Jones, CF         4. Adrian Beltre, 3B
5. Matt Wieters, C        5. Nelson Cruz, RF
6. Jim Thome, DH          6. Michael Young, 1B
7. Mark Reynolds, 1B      7. Mike Napoli, DH
8. Ryan Flaherty, 2B      8. Geovany Soto, C
9. Manny Machado, 3B      9. Craig Gentry, CF

SP Joe Saunders, LH       SP Yu Darvish, RH

Buck Showalter is going with what has become his standard lineup versus right-handed pitching following injuries to Nick Markakis and Wilson Betemit. Jim Thome gets the start at designated hitter and will be playing in his 68th career playoff game at age 41. Of the nine players starting for the Orioles tonight only Matt Wieters, Adam Jones, and J.J. Hardy were in the Opening Day lineup at the same position (Chris Davis and Mark Reynolds also played the opener, but at different spots than tonight).

Ron Washington stacked the Rangers’ lineup with right-handed bats against left-hander Joe Saunders. David Murphy played regularly against lefties during the season, but he’s benched tonight in favor of Craig Gentry, which also shifts Josh Hamilton from center field to left field. Lefty-hitting Mitch Moreland is also out of the lineup, with Michael Young taking over for him at first base and Mike Napoli sliding into Young’s usual designated hitter spot. Geovany Soto, who was acquired from the Cubs to be Napoli’s backup, will catch Yu Darvish’s playoff debut.

Feel free to chat during the game in the comments section.

White Sox won’t make bid for Bryce Harper

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The White Sox won’t make a bid for free agent outfielder Bryce Harper, Bruce Levine of 670 The Score reports. Believed to be the favorites to land shortstop Manny Machado in free agency, the White Sox watched him ink a 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres. The club is apparently content with its roster otherwise.

Harper would certainly be an upgrade in the outfield, which currently features Adam Engel, Nicky Delmonico, and Jon Jay. It will soon feature prospects Eloy Jiménez and Luis Robert.

Last season, Harper hit .249/.393/.496 with 34 hom eruns, 100 RBI, 103 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 695 plate appearances. He led all of baseball, drawing 130 walks. Harper is also a six-time All-Star who won the 2012 NL Rookie of the Year Award and the 2015 NL Most Valuable Player Award.

The Phillies are still believed to be the favorites to sign Harper and the club is confident it will land him, Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Daily News reports.