Rangers Inching Closer to 2nd Straight AL West Championship
While icing down a cooler of beer yesterday afternoon a piece of ice hit one can just right and I took a beer shower to the face; an interesting omen I think for the week ahead for your Texas Rangers.
Yes, the 2011 season is quickly coming to a close and October baseball will soon hit Major League Baseball with the Rangers, barring a monumental collapse, once again representing the American League West in baseball's postseason tournament.
It's fun to look at the math going into this final week, unless you're an Angels fan of course.
With the Angels dropping two of three to the Orioles while the Rangers won their series in Seattle, beating King Feliz Hernandez once again in the rubber match on Sunday, the Rangers magic number sits at six with nine games left to play.
Texas could go 5-4 over the last nine games and the Angels would have to win out to take the division from the Rangers, but ask any player in the Rangers clubhouse and they'll all tell you it's not over until there's an "E" next to the Angels in the standings.
That being said the Rangers are certainly in position to take the AL West for a second consecutive year and look to make another trip to the World Series.
With an offense that is steadily approaching full strength, a potential playoff rotation led by CJ Wilson, Matt Harrison and Derek Holland all pitching well and a shutdown bullpen that is capable of locking up a game from the 6th inning on any given night, the Rangers are a force I promise no team wants to see in the playoffs.
As for the fourth starter in the mix the Rangers may have a somewhat difficult choice between last season's playoff hero Colby Lewis and first year starter Alexi Ogando.
On the surface the edge clearly goes to Ogando because he's pitching better than Colby right now, but considering Ogando's previous experience out of the bullpen and Colby's postseason performance last year the Rangers may opt to give Colby a start over Ogando.
Either way it's going to be a risky move and a tough decision for Ron Washington and Co.
With all the talk going into the playoffs centered on the Tigers, Yankees and Red Sox, if they survive the Rays' charge that is, the Rangers will once again be the underdog despite their defending American League Champion status.
That by the way is just fine with me and I'm sure it's perfectly fine with the Rangers after running with that underdog label all the way to the World Series last year.
Once game 162 is played and the playoffs are all set, the national "experts" will lay out their postseason predictions and most will likely be wrong because you can't script October and you certainly can't predict what's going to happen.
I'll go into the Rangers postseason outlook more once that "E" is next to the Angels in the standings and the champagne shower has taken place.
Until then the magic number sits at six with nine games left to play and the Rangers still have work to do.