AL West Race Tightening

The Rangers have been playing well lately.  They’ve won 7 of their last 10.  Usually, that would be good enough to extend their lead in the division, but not right now.  In the same stretch, the A’s have gone 9 and 1 and the Angels have gone 8-2.  With 29 games left in the regular season, the Rangers now lead the A’s by 3 1/2 games and the Angels by 8.   Oakland is currently leading the Red Sox 6-1 in the 7th inning, so that lead should shrink to 3 games after today.

Oakland has benefited from a stretch where they swept Cleveland in 4 games and then got to play the absolutely horrible, sold the farm and gave up the season, Red Sox.  They will sweep that 3 games series too.  Before that, they took 2 of 3 from the Rays, 2 of 3 from Minnesota, and prior to all that had swept the Indians.  So, in their last 6 series they will have only played 1 team with a winning record.

The Angels are currently in a series with the Mariners.  Prior to that they played the Red Sox in two, 3-game series, and the Tigers.  So again, only one team with a winning record, and two series against the Red Sox who might not win another game this season.

The Rangers are coming out of a stretch where they have played the Tigers, yankees, Blue Jays, Orioles, Twins, Rays and Indians.  Out of their last 7 series, all but three teams have had winning records.  The Rangers are 14-9…a good showing against some good teams.  They took 2 of 3 from Detroit, 2 of 3 from Toronto, 2 of 3 from Baltimore, 3 of 4 from Minnesota, and 2 of 3 from Cleveland.  Unfortunately, they only managed 1 win against the yankees.  However, typically a good stretch like that should have given the Rangers a nice lead in the division.  Instead, their lead has shrunk both against the A’s and the Angels thanks to those two teams playing well and having the benefit of a VERY easy schedule over the same time period.

The Rangers now head into a stretch where they play the Royals, Rays, Indians, and Mariners.  This should give them an opportunity to gain some ground going into a series against the Angels that beings September 18.  From that point on they finish the season against divisional opponents–a 3 game set against Anaheim, 3 games versus the Mariners, 4 against Oakland, 3 more against Anaheim, and then finishing the season with another 3 at Oakland.

It is looking like the AL West playoff race is going to come down to that final stretch where the Rangers play Oakland-Anaheim-Oakland.

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