Fast forward a month from August and that 4-game series with the Astros in Arlington were monumental for the Rangers. Not only did the Rangers sweep the Astros but they beat them differently in all 4 games and didn’t look back. Now here we sit in late September and the Rangers hold a 2.5 game lead over their counterparts in Houston with 7 to go (Detroit & LA Angels).
Going back to my previous AL Wild Card prediction article [“Prediction: The Rangers have played fantastic baseball and I see no reason that can’t continue and we’ll get a pretty clear picture in 2 weeks when they face the Astros in Arlington. If they play .500 ball the rest of the way it gets them to 82 wins (which is what I said to begin the season). I see them playing a hair under .600 and winning 85-88 games with the season to be decided on the last week. I don’t think they win the division but I do say they get the last wild card spot with 87 wins”]. This prediction is still very much in play but instead the Rangers will be playing for the division not the wild card and trust me you want to win the division.
Assuming the Rangers take 2 of 3 from Detroit and 1-2 from Anaheim that gets them to 87-88 wins and from my perspective that should be enough to seal at least a wild card if not the division. As it stands today the Rangers are predicted 94% to make the playoffs in some fashion.
Here’s a look at the other 3 teams in the race:
Team Games Winning (team) % Combined winning %
LA Angels: Oakland (3) home .417
(81-74) Texas (4) away .542 .479
Prediction: The Angels have struggled mightily on the road and very good at home which makes me believe they take 2 of 3 from Oakland and split the Texas series. This gives the Angels 4 wins and a total of 85-77. The Angels get sent packing in Arlington and miss the post-season.
Texas Rangers: Tigers (3) home .465
(84-71) Angels (4) home .523 .494
Prediction: The Rangers actually struggle more at home than the road this season but that’s not the case in the last several months where they have been lights out at home. The Tigers are slumping and the Rangers have Hamels and Lewis going in this series. Rangers take 2 of 3 from Detroit and split against the Angels. This brings their record to 88-74 and to take the division.
Minnesota Twins: Indians (4) away .500
(80-75) Royals (3) home .581 .540
Prediction: The Twins have been fairly consistent all year but have never put together a really good streak until late. They have the toughest way to the playoffs against the Indians and Royals. The Indians want to ruin their season and KC is always tough to beat. I see losing 2 or 3 in Cleveland and taking 2 from the Royals. Let’s go with 84-78 and missing out on the post-season.
Houston Astros: Mariners (3) away .474
(82-74) D-backs (3) away .481 .477
Prediction: This is the biggest wildcard and a team that’s very hard to predict. The Astros certainly have the easiest path to the playoffs with an opposing team winning % of only .477. That’s the good news, the bad news is the Astros have the worst road record in the American League and they finish the season out on the road. I see the Mariners taking 2 of 3 and then the Astros taking 2 of 3 from the D-backs. This gives the Astros an 86-76 record and the second wild-card spot.
Final AL Prediction look:
AL East: Toronto
AL Central: Kansas City
AL West: Texas
Wild Cards: Yankees vs Astros
Yankees vs Astros – (Winner to play Toronto)
Texas vs Kansas City
*This is how I see the whole picture shaking out but who knows what could happen. This is baseball and anything can happen on any given day.
Billy Beane once said, “How can you not be romantic about baseball”?