The Texas Rangers have been extremely good at winning series this year, going 34-13 with two splits.
If they win their next one, they will guarantee themselves at least a share of a third consecutive AL West title.
After escaping Seattle with a 3-2 win over the Mariners on Sunday, the Rangers return home to face second-place Oakland for four games. The Rangers hold a four-game lead on the A’s with 10 to play, giving them a magic number of seven.
Win three of four and they guarantee themselves a tie; pull off a sweep and they’d have the division title in hand with six games to go.
“Monday, that’s all we’re concentrating on,” said closer Joe Nathan, who picked up his 35th save of the season and the 296th of his career. “You worry about anything else at this point, like taking three of four or splitting, and you are asking for trouble. Hopefully, we come out and play well. Our approach is not to change anything and then see where the chips fall.”
Manager Ron Washington said, “I just want to win tomorrow. I’m not thinking three or four games ahead.”
The Rangers play seven of their final 10 games against Oakland. If Texas can simply win the best-of-seven series, it would also clinch the West. The season series, through 12 games, is tied at six apiece. The Rangers have won four of the last six.
However, the division title isn’t the only thing the Rangers are playing for. They hold a two-game lead over the New York Yankees for home-field advantage all the way through the AL playoffs. If the teams end up tied for the best record, the edge would go to the Yankees, who won the season series, 4-3