It's a strange scheduling quirk this week that has the Texas Rangers with two off days so soon after the All-Star break. But they'll try to take advantage of it and keep the pressure on their two nearest pursuers in the AL West in Oakland and Los Angeles. A look at the week ahead:
* The Rangers are off today in San Francisco before a two-game series with the Oakland A's. The second game of that series is Wednesday afternoon at 2:37 p.m. CT, and we'll have a live in-game chat on location somewhere for that game. Keep an eye out here on the blog for details.
* Texas faces an Oakland team that is 46-43 and going into today's games sits only a half game back in the AL wild-card standings. The Angels and Baltimore are tied for the wild-card lead, but six teams behind them are within 1 1/2 games.
* After the two-game set, the Rangers get another off day Thursday before facing the Angels for three games -- Friday night and Saturday and Sunday afternoon.
* Matt Harrison continues to impress. He won his 12th game of the season Sunday with a complete-game shutout of the Mariners and has a 2.87 ERA. He'll be on the mound during the Angels series.
* The Rangers' offense continues to struggle overall. Since July 1, the Rangers haven't scored more than four runs in a game and are batting just .229 as a team in 10 games (4-6 record overall). They've managed just 2.4 runs per game and have more errors (six) than homers (five).
* Los Angeles lost two of three to the New York Yankees and is now five games behind the Rangers in the AL West. Mark Trumbo was 3-for-5 with a home run in the finale on Sunday, the Angels' only win in the series.