The Rangers will meet an old friend in a win-or-go-home game on Friday.
So, yeah, that just happened.
Your Texas Rangers muffed their chance, which had all but been clinched a week ago, at winning their third straight AL West crown and possibly wrapping up homefield advantage throughout the AL playoffs. And it was ugly, as the Rangers lost 12-5, had a terrible error, saw terrible pitching from everyone but Koji Uehara and just got out-played by the upstart Oakland A's, who were 13 1/2 games back on June 30. It was a collapse by the Rangers, there's no ifs ands or buts. Utter collapse.
But considering everything, and thanks to a little help from our friends Evan Longoria and Jeremy Hellickson, the Rangers are in pretty decent shape as they gear up to play the Wild Card play-in game on Friday against the Baltimore Orioles in Arlington.
It was a sure bet the Rangers would be playing the Orioles for the right to play the New York Yankees in the ALDS, but it was unsure where. Then Tampa Bay dominated the Orioles as Longoria went yard three times in his final game of the season. Thanks, dude.
So, the Rangers return home, where they seem to be a different team lately, and they'll face a team in Baltimore that they played seven times this year and beat five times. They'll do so with their hottest starting pitcher, Yu Darvish, on the mound facing a team he's never faced, which usually means good thing for Darvish.
with a win on Friday, Wednesday can all but be forgotten as the Rangers will be in the playoffs and hosting the New York Yankees for the first two games of a best-of-5 series, thanks to the odd twist that the division series are a 2-3 format this year. That's the possibility of three straight home games with two off-days mixed in there.
So yeah, Wednesday was catastrophic for the Rangers and their fans. But don't go jumping off a cliff just yet. This thing could be in a lot worse of shape than it is.