The Major League Baseball season is quite the test of one’s will. Their ability to remain calm in any situation is constantly having to be proven. That has been the dilemma facing Athletics fans all season long, and at this point they are staring the highest of highs right in the face.
Sep 15, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Oakland Athletics right fielder Josh Reddick (16) celebrates the victory over the Texas Rangers with teammates at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
With the Athletics’ sweep of the Texas Rangers over the weekend, they’ve opened up a robust 6.5 game lead in the AL West, a lead higher than at any point in the season thus far. It is becoming more and more difficult to keep an even keel as the Athletics appear poised to capture a second straight AL West title. With just 13 games left to play, the Athletics have a true magic number of just 8. For the uninitiated, that means a combination of A’s wins and Rangers losses equaling or exceeding 8 will guarantee the A’s another division crown.
Now you all may recall just a little less than a year ago, when the Rangers were in a very similar position. They had a 5 game lead over the A’s with just 9 to play, and we all know how that ended. Last year was proof that without a doubt, anything can happen. The last thing the A’s want to see is for the Rangers to return the favor and make a miraculous charge towards the top and steal the division from them.
The Athletics could conceivably embark on their final road trip a week from tomorrow as the newly crowned division champs, but it will require them to take care of business at home. They welcome the massively disappointing Los Angeles Angels for three games starting tomorrow night, and finish their regular season home schedule with a four game set against the Minnesota Twins. With the way the team is playing right now, to think they could go 5-2 or 6-1 on this homestand isn’t unreasonable.
The Rangers have to travel to Tampa Bay and face off against the Rays in a big series with huge wild card implications in a four game series starting tomorrow. For the logjam of teams chasing them, they will be watching this series closely as it could very well jettison one of those teams into one of the wild card spots. Like the A’s, if the Indians, Orioles, Royals, and Yankees win during this upcoming week, good things will happen for them. That is the beauty of setting yourself up for success, being in a position of power like the A’s can do wonders for your present and your future. Simply put, win and you’re in.