Texas Rangers: wild card

MLB announces wild-card tiebreakers

September, 27, 2013
9/27/13
3:39
PM CT
MLB announced Friday the tiebreaker sequence that will be played if the regular-season ends in a three-way tie between the Cleveland Indians, the Tampa Bay Rays and the Texas Rangers for the two American League wild-card playoff berths.

If the three clubs are tied after Sunday’s games, then the tie will be broken by two games based on the teams' combined winning percentages in head-to-head competition against one another in the regular season.

The Indians would host the Rays on Monday, with the winner earning an AL wild-card berth.

The losing club in Monday’s game would play against the Rangers in Texas on Tuesday, with the winner earning the other AL wild-card spot.

In the event of a two-team tie for one wild-card berth, the tiebreaker game would be played Monday and hosted by the club that won the season series.

TBS and ESPN Radio will provide exclusive coverage of tiebreaker and wild-card games.

Wild-card race: Extra baseball on tap?

September, 27, 2013
9/27/13
1:23
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- And then there were three.

The Texas Rangers, Cleveland Indians and Tampa Bay Rays are fighting for two wild-card spots in the American League and go into a weekend where scoreboard watching will be unavoidable.

The Rangers, of course, are in the most precarious position, needing to win and get help to make it to the postseason. Tampa Bay, winners of seven straight, is on the verge of clinching a wild-card spot, standing one game ahead of the Indians and two ahead of the Rangers with three games left to go.

The Indians, also on a seven-game winning streak, are a game ahead of the Rangers.

Here's how the weekend sets up for all of the contenders:

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Which two teams will reach the AL wild-card playoff game?

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Rangers (88-71, .553, 1 game out of second wild card)
Next up: Friday-Sunday vs. Los Angeles Angels
Opponents' record: The Angels are 78-81.
The latest: The Rangers have won four straight games and picked up no ground in the wild card race. They couldn't ask for more with the three starters they send to the mound this weekend -- Alexi Ogando, Derek Holland and Yu Darvish.
Forecast: The key game is Friday night. If Ogando can beat C.J. Wilson -- and his record against the Angels is tremendous and Wilson's against the Rangers is awful -- then look for Texas to win the last three games and get to 91 wins. Will it be enough?

Rays (90-69, .566, in lead for first wild-card spot)
Next up: Friday-Sunday at Toronto Blue Jays
Opponents' record: The Blue Jays are 72-87 and have lost two straight games.
The latest: The Rays swept a three-game series against the lifeless New York Yankees. Tampa Bay has won at least 90 games in four straight season and five of the last six, both the most in the majors.
Forecast: The Rays got back to .500 on the road at 39-39 with the sweep of the Yankees. Friday's game against Toronto will be interesting. Unpredictable knuckleballer R.A. Dickey could send the Rays' suspect offense into a bad place. The Blue Jays will startle the Rays and win two out of three games as Tampa Bay ends up with 91 wins, same as the Rangers.

Indians (89-70, .560, in lead for second wild-card spot)
Next up: Friday-Sunday at Minnesota
Opponents' record: The Twins are 66-93 and have lost three straight.
The latest: The Indians roll on as veterans such as Nick Swisher and Jason Giambi have had crucial hits this week. Michael Brantley also has been red hot for the Indians.
Forecast: The Cleveland bullpen could be in shambles, at least for Friday night. Closer Chris Perez allowed four runs and got only two outs before being pulled for Joe Smith, who finished off a 6-5 win over the Twins. Look for a carryover. The Indians will still win two out of three games and end up with 91 wins, just like the Rangers and Indians, forcing a three-way tie for the wild cards.

A look inside the AL wild-card race

September, 24, 2013
9/24/13
3:38
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers say they're not desperate, still on the outside looking in in the American League wild-card race.

But they need some help, starting with the New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins as the final week is underway.

The Rangers started the week with a bang Monday night with a 12-0 win over the hapless Houston Astros as outfielder Alex Rios became the seventh player in club history to hit for the cycle.

"The good thing is we won," Rios said. "It doesn't do any good looking at what's happening around us. We know what's in front of us. It's not going to be easy, but we're still optimistic."

Here's how the start of the week sets up for all of the contenders:

Rangers (85-71, .545, 1 game out of second wild-card spot)
Next up: Tuesday-Wednesday vs. Houston; Thursday vs LA Angels
Opponents' record: The Astros are 51-106 and the Angels are 76-80
The latest: The Rangers have been getting great starting pitching. Texas starters are 4-0 with a 1.34 ERA in their last seven games.
Forecast: The Rangers will finish off a three-game sweep of Houston. Their four-game series against the Angels will be far more difficult.

Rays (87-69, .558, in lead for first wild-card spot)
Next up: Tuesday-Thursday at New York Yankees
Opponents' record: The Yankees are 82-74
The latest: The Rays swept a four-game series against Baltimore with two walk-off wins. Tampa's 18-inning victory Friday may be the one the Rays look back on as the reason they reached the postseason.
Forecast: The Rays have struggled on the road with a 36-39 record. They'll lose two out of three to the proud Yankees.

Indians (86-70, .542, in lead for second wild-card spot)
Next up: Tuesday-Wednesday vs. the White Sox; Thursday at Minnesota
Opponents' record: The White Sox are 62-94 and the Twins are 66-90
The latest: The Indians took care of business by winning four straight against Houston. The schedule stays soft, but the pressure mounts on the Tribe.
Forecast: The Indians will slip up and split two games with the White Sox. Cleveland should have the pitching edge against the Twins.

Royals (83-73, .532, 3 games back in wild-card race)
Next up: Tuesday-Wednesday at Seattle; Thursday at White Sox
Opponents' record: The Mariners are 69-89 and the White Sox are 62-94
The latest: The Royals topped the Mariners on Monday night, 6-5, keeping their momentum going after winning two of three from the Rangers.
Forecast: The Royals will split the next two games against Seattle, then get set for what should be a winning series against the White Sox.

Yankees (82-74, .526, 4 games back in wild-card race)
Next up: Tuesday-Thursday vs. Tampa Bay
Opponents' record: The Rays are 87-69
The latest: The Yankees shut down starting pitcher C.C. Sabathia and lost a crucial game Sunday to the San Francisco Giants. They have the Mariano Rivera farewell tour working in their favor.
Forecast: See above. Yankee pride will show up with a series win over the Rays.

Orioles (81-75, .519, 5 games back in wild-card race)
Next up: Tuesday-Thursday vs. Toronto
Opponents' record: The Blue Jays are 71-85
The latest: First baseman Chris Davis hit another home run Monday, giving him 52 for the season. But the Orioles crumbled in Tampa and lost four straight.
Forecast: See above. The Orioles will win two of three from the Blue Jays, but they'll be eliminated from the wild-card race in the process.

What's best potential ALDS matchup for Texas?

August, 27, 2012
8/27/12
8:00
AM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- With the Tampa Bay Rays coming to town for a three-game series, we thought it would be fun to see which first-round playoff matchup made the most sense for the Texas Rangers. The past two seasons, they've gone up against the Rays in the ALDS. And there's a chance that could happen again with the Rays vying for a wild-card spot.

So for the purposes of this exercise in speculation (hey, it's never too early to talk the playoffs, is it?), let's say the Rangers earn the top spot in the AL. That means they'd face the winner of the wild-card game, which is one game between the two wild-card teams. BTW, the Rangers would start that series on the road for the first two games (a scheduling quirk this season to get the other playoff team in means they have to do it that way).

Which team would you like to see the Rangers play? Which team would they matchup best against? The possibilities:

Tampa Bay: The Rays have lost to Texas each of the past two seasons and it's never easy to beat the same team (well, many of the same players, anyway) a third straight time. ... Tampa has a good pitching staff and an ace in David Price. But the Rangers might only see him once in a five-game series assuming he's needed to pitch the wild-card game. ... The Rays are pesky, but would the Rangers have the psychological advantage?

Baltimore: Texas Rangers North has surprised many by continuing to stay in the wild card hunt. But the Rangers took three out of four games in Baltimore this year and two of three from them in Arlington recently. The Orioles have an excellent bullpen and when they have a lead late, they keep it. But can the starting pitching hold up in a five-game series against the Rangers' bats? I don't think so.

Oakland: The upstart A's keeping hanging around behind solid pitching and timely hitting. The Rangers will see them seven more times in mid- and late-September. The Rangers and A's have split 12 games so far this season. But can the A's lineup do enough damage against Texas in a five-game series to win it? Do they have enough arms to get by Texas' lineup?

Detroit: At this point, they are behind the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central but still within a half-game of one of the wild-card spots. They have some big hitters who have to be respected, especially Miguel Cabrera, who has delivered some big hits against the Rangers. Of course they've got that Justin Verlander guy too, but just like with the Rays, if the Tigers need Verlander in a wild-card game, he likely can't go twice in the five-game series.

Los Angeles: The Angels are still on this list. While it would take a mammoth comeback (combined with a huge collapse) for the Angels to catch Texas, they are four games back of a wild-card spot. They could still make a run and get there. If they do, they've got some starting pitching and some big bats. But the bullpen is shaky and the starting pitching has not been consistent (have you seen Zack Greinke's numbers since the trade?). Still, they're a big rival that won't be intimidated by the Rangers. And it would be entertaining.

Chicago: If the Tigers get past the White Sox, then Chicago would fall into the wild-card mix. They've got good starting pitching and a solid enough offense. Kevin Youkilis has made a difference and Robin Ventura has done a good job as manager.

So, which of these teams do you think would be the best matchup for the Rangers in an effort to move on to the ALCS? I think it's Oakland and Baltimore. I still think Tampa Bay and the loser of the Detroit/Chicago race in the AL Central will get the wild-card spots, but to me, the easier matchup for Texas is AL West-rival Oakland or the Orioles.

Do you agree?

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Adrian Beltre
BA HR RBI R
.324 19 77 79
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
WC. Lewis 10
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182