Ron Washington needs to get as much as he can out of his team this week during a six-game homestand.
Make no mistake, the final few weeks of the Texas Rangers' season is not going to be some walk in the park. But if they take care of business like they should this week at home, that might not matter too much.
The Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Angels, who are both chasing the Rangers in the AL West, are in the midst of a four-game series right now as the A's took Game 1 of the series to pull within three games of the idle Rangers. If the A's could win the series, they could essentially put the Angels out of contention of catching the Rangers (if they aren't already there).
That'd leave the AL West crown up to the Rangers and A's, who are about to go play the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers. In the meantime, the Rangers can feast on two of the worst teams in the American League, and do it at home where the Rangers simply don't lose that often. The Cleveland Indians come to town tonight as one of the worst teams in all of baseball before the Seattle Mariners visit Rangers Ballpark over the weekend.
After that, the Rangers head off to face the Angels and Mariners, before hosting the A's, Angels and going to Oakland to end the season.
The prevailing thought is that by the time those last two series against the A's come, the A's could be further back than they are now based on who they have to play between now and then. But we've been writing off the A's all season, and they now have the second-best record in the AL behind the Rangers.
That's why it's so important for the Rangers to take care of business against the Indians and Mariners while the A's and Angels hopefully beat up on each other and the A's head off to play some tough teams. And against the Indians and Mariners, the Rangers shouldn't be expected to do anything less.