Extra Bases: Schedule won't decide West
Much is being made of the Rangers' easy schedule in August and a difficult stretch that Oakland is navigating its way through.
And how that flips over in September, when the A's have it easier than a Rangers team they are chasing once again in the American League West.
|The Rangers missed an opportunity to extend their AL West lead over the weekend. Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss the state of the Rangers heading into the final stretch of the season. |
Oakland opened a four-game series it was supposed to be dreading Monday night with an 8-6 victory over American League Central-leading Detroit. The A's are 2-2 on a road trip against playoff contenders Baltimore and Detroit, teams that are a combined 35 games over .500.
That put the pressure on the Rangers to hold serve on the West Coast on Monday night and Texas produced an 8-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners to keep its 2 1/2 game lead in the AL West.
The Rangers are 2-2 on a road trip against the Chicago White Sox and Seattle, teams that start Tuesday a combined 34 games below .500.
So far it's a push and advantage Oakland.
Here's the catch: Both the Rangers and the A's are good enough to beat any team on their schedule.
That explains Oakland beginning its series against Detroit in winning fashion. It explains how the Rangers were able to survive a treacherous stretch in June against the Oakland A's, St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds by winning each series.
Yes, by all means beat up on the bottom dwellers. But wins against the top teams count the same, and in the end do more damage in a division race.
WHAT'S UP NOW: Rapid Reaction from Monday's 8-3 victory over Seattle. Plus a post-game blog on Travis Blackley holding his own against his former team.
ON DECK: The Rangers send left-hander Derek Holland (9-6, 2.95) to the mound against Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma (12-6, 2.98) at 9:10 p.m. Tuesday night on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and 1540-AM.
QUESTION OF THE DAY: Did Blackley earn another start Sunday night against the Minnesota Twins?
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.