The Texas Rangers will enter Tuesday's series opener in Oakland with either a one-game or two-game lead over second-place Houston in the AL West with 13 games to play, and the Rangers need to turn their fortunes against the last-place A's if they want to have a great shot of wrapping up the division next week.
The Rangers, for whatever reason, are 6-10 against Oakland this season, just as they were 6-10 against fourth-place Seattle before wrapping up their season series with the Mariners over the weekend with yet another series loss to finish it at 7-12.
They can't afford to do the same thing with the A's in their last meeting against Oakland, a series that will see them miss Oakland ace Sonny Gray.
If the Astros beat the Angels on Monday night, the Rangers won't have any wiggle room with a one-game lead and will basically need a sweep of Oakland to feel comfortable heading into their final series with the Astros this weekend in Houston.
Even if the Rangers win the series against Oakland, if the cards fall right they could head to Houston in an AL West deadlock with a sure-to-be mad Scott Kazmir and Dallas Keuchel waiting for them on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
The good thing about this series is that the Rangers will roll out Martin Perez on Tuesday and Colby Lewis on Wednesday — two pitchers who have enjoyed great success in their careers in Oakland. The Rangers, as a whole, are 3-4 against the A's in Oakland this year and really need to make it 7-4 this week to put themselves in good position heading to Houston this weekend.
6-10, 3-4 in Oakland