At a game I will be attending -- thanks Pnut -- the Rangers will have three chances over the next seventy-two hours to win one game and win their third straight American League West title.
I am not optimistic. Of course, the season that marks the tenth anniversary of the amazing Moneyball twenty-game winning streak A's would be a miracle one for your 2012 Oakland Plucky Athletics.
I would not be the least bit surprised if the A's did sweep the Rangers and stole the flag. And, even if the Rangers do win the division their playoff prospects do not look very good. In point of fact (h/t Beat the Devil; an aside, me and a buddy were obsessed with Beat the Devil, and even had a drinking game -- drinking Pernod, natch, which is what Bogart orders in an early scene -- where we drank every time Jennifer Jones says, "In point of fact." She says it three times in three seconds in that clip, starting at the 3:04 mark. You could get pretty drunk playing our game, depending on what you are drinking.) Ahem, in point of fact, the Rangers just do not look very good. They are having runners picked off; they are not getting good jumps on fly balls; the rotation is seriously leaky -- with the exception of Darvish and Harrison; Nathan -- uncharacteristically -- has blown two saves in just the last couple of weeks; the offense is a serious roller coaster ride with longer valleys than peaks; Wash keeps bringing Lowe out to pitch in high-leverage situations; and some of the players look flat-out bushed. We probably would not even have made the playoffs if not for Adrian Beltre. (And he tweaked his shoulder again last night! Do not know if he will be at third or the DH tonight, but he insisted last night that he is playing today.) However it turns out this has been one of the strangest Ranger seasons ever. Despite being considered one of the best teams all season long, Ranger fans have never seemed satisfied. There have been mystery flus and viruses; our rotation was nearly completely wiped out; Hamilton either looks like Mickey Mantle or Joe Shlabotnik (lately, more like Shlabotnik); Roy Oswalt has been much more pain in the neck than savior; Kinsler is acting like Kinsler (and not hitting much recently); it has just a been a wacky wacky season for the Rangers, and there could be a real sense of relief when it ends, however it ends. Baseball is a seductive, yet cruel lady, ...
To wit, every game matters in a very long season of Major League Baseball. April is just as important as September. Just ask the Los Angeles Angels of Disneyland, who spent one-third of a billion dollars on two players, and despite being one of the best teams in the Majors at this point, will be working on their golf game next weekend. They simply could not overcome their horrible start and are on the outside looking in. Not that I am all that wracked up about it.
Wash will have tonight's starter on a very short leash tonight, Martin Perez. The A's roughed him up for five runs in two-thirds of one inning last week. We will probably see Oswalt or Scooter Feldman if Perez can not get it done.
Honestly, this is not the best chance for the Rangers tonight. Tomorrow is. But, "That's the way baseball go," as Wash likes to say.
The Rangers have clinched a playoff spot.
The Rangers' Magic Number for the division title is two.
The Rangers' Magic Number for home field advantage is three.
The Athletics' Magic Number for a playoff spot is one.
The Athletics' Magic Number for the division title is six.
The Athletics' Magic Number for home field advantage is six.
Here is a fun chart of the AL West playoff chances throughout the season: (Poor Mariners.)
And here are some more screen shots of an interesting philosophical discussion on the Rangers SBNation blog:
I will talk about The Master, which I saw yesterday, another time.
I love you all,