And it comes down to the final day of the season. The AL West winner will be determined on Wednesday afternoon in the Bay Area, where the Oakland Athletics will hope to trip up the two-time defending AL West champs, the Texas Rangers.
The Rangers have fallen and choked away what was once a double digit win lead in the AL West. They need to win this game, or they are going to have to be playing in the Wild Card game on Friday, likely, but not necessarily at home. A los parlayed with a win by the Baltimore Orioles, and the Rangers are going to have to travel from Oakland to either Baltimore or New York on Friday, and then back to Arlington for the start of the first series of the playoffs should they make it that far. A win though, and the AL West crown will be theirs. Home field advantage throughout the playoffs is gone though, as that title will go to the AL East winner. The Rangers are sending their newest starting pitcher, Ryan Dempster to the mound for Wednesday’s crucial tilt. Since coming over to the Rangers, Dempster is 7-3, but his ERA of 4.64 definitely leaves something to be desired. He does have a ton of strikeouts (67 in 66.0 innings of work), but his walk total is high, and he has allowed more home runs here in 11 starts with the Rangers (10) than he did in 16 starts and 38 more innings of work with the Chicago Cubs (9).
Oakland is going to be scoreboard watching all day today regardless of what ultimately happens in today’s game. A win, a New York loss, and a Baltimore loss, and the A’s are the top seed in the American League. A win parlayed with any other result, and Oakland would be the second seed and either have home field advantage on one of those two teams, or the Detroit Tigers in the first round of the playoffs. With a loss though, the A’s will be in the Wild Card game. A loss and a Baltimore loss, and that game will be played right here in Oakland. A loss and a Baltimore win though, and the A’s need to pack their bags for either the Bronx or Baltimore. It’s going to be up to the young AJ Griffin to win the biggest start of his career on Wednesday. He is 7-1 with a 2.71 ERA, and he has been the glue to a staff that has badly needed it over the course of the year. The youngster is 3-0 with a 2.52 ERA here at home, and he has only led his team to one defeat since the middle of July here at home.
Oh, Texas, what have you done? The Rangers are now in a bad spot, and they are about to be sent on a whirl of a travel schedule if they lose this game. Oakland is playing with a ton of confidence right now, and we have a lot more confidence that Griffin can come up with a big game in a big spot than the other way around. Oakland 5 – Texas 4