This might sound like déjà vu, but the Rangers rebounded from a crushing defeat to beat the Angels resoundingly. Of course, there were a couple of major differences. The Rangers lost and then won in a six-hour span, and the win means the Rangers are going to the playoffs for a third straight year.
Joe Nathan blew only his third save of the season in the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader. But on the bat of Mike Napoli, the Rangers were able to clinch a playoff berth in the second game, beating the Halos 8-7.
Texas is headed into a three-game series against Oakland with the American League West title on the line. The bad news is the Rangers must fight for their third consecutive division crown in Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. The good news is they need only one win out of three to capture the title.
The bad news is the Rangers must fight for their third consecutive division crown in Oakland. The good news is they need only one win out of three to capture the title.
Of course, Oakland is expected to put up a fight. After all, this is a team that has arguably over performed all season to get themselves only two games behind with this series left. They’ve put considerable distance between themselves and the Rays and Angels in the hunt for the last wild-card spot. They only need to win one game to get into the playoffs.
But nobody wants the wild-card spot, because of this year’s new two wild-card setting. Whichever two teams capture a wild card will meet for a one-game playoff and the right to move on to the ALDS. Needless to say, a wild-card game will wreak havoc with pitching rotations and fatigue issues. No, with things up in the air across both leagues, teams are still vying for the security of a division title and homefield advantage.
The Rangers still have the best record in the American League and would like to hold on to that because it would mean a third division title and homefield advantage through the ALCS. It doesn’t hurt that the Rangers are 50-31 at home this season.
Consider this three-game series a mini-playoff. Although one game is all the Rangers need, two games — or even a sweep — would do far better in terms of seeding and confidence going into the playoffs. No team wants to stumble in; it’s a bad recipe for sustained success.
Sure, the Cowboys are playing tonight, and that’s worth your time. But the Rangers don’t start until 9, so flip over at halftime and give the best team in North Texas some of the respect it deserves.