For the last three seasons the Texas Rangers have been a force in the playoffs. With back to back World Series appearances in 2010 and 2011 and a near division title in 2012 one could argue the Rangers had supplanted the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers as the team to beat in the American League. 3 weeks ago Texas was on cruise control headed into the postseason with a comfortable lead over Oakland in the AL West. Today they find themselves clinging to the final wildcard spot by a 1/2 game. Will the Rangers pull it together and make it a 4th straight season in the playoffs?
Unfortunately no. Texas has lost 9 of their last 10 games (including 7 in a row) while Oakland has won 8 out of 10 so the AL West is out of reach. To make matters worse they play 10 of their last 13 games on the road with stops in Tampa, Kansas City, and Anaheim. The other teams in the wildcard chase (Cleveland, New York, and Baltimore) have much easier schedules down the stretch.
Perhaps the Rangers should have kept the troubled Josh Hamilton for added protection in the line up. Perhaps they should have made a trade before the deadline with the knowledge Nelson Cruz was going to miss 50 games for using performance enhancing drugs. Whatever the case may be those decisions will probably cost skipper Ron Washington his job. Expectations are high in Arlington and his relationship with team president Nolan Ryan is tenuous at best. It's not his fault the team is underachieving, but ultimately he will be the fall guy. The Rangers had a good run, but the party's over.