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Rangers Pre-Playoff To-Do List

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP

    It will probably take until this weekend against the Mariners to officially clinch, but the AL West title is finally in the Rangers' grasp. 

    That means it is okay for the team to turn its gaze from the Angels and turn it toward October. As they do make that shift, there are a few things for them to do to make sure that the team is primed to make another run to the World Series. Nothing too enormous, obviously, but still things that need to happen for the Rangers to be at their best. 

    Rest is at the top of that list, even if it means falling behind the Tigers in the battle for home field in the first round. There shouldn't be anything about facing the Yankees that scares the Rangers, not after last year's playoffs and not with a Yankees starting rotation that lacks depth. What's more, if the Red Sox keep throwing their chances to win the Wild Card straight into the dumpster, the Rays and their rotation will make for a very tough series.

    Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus, Adrian Beltre and Michael Young could all use a little extra rest to be at full power come Game One next week. It wouldn't be a bad idea to give some relief innings to guys who aren't going to be on the roster either, although you need to be sure not to give anyone so much time that they aren't sharp.

    Not everyone gets to rest, though. Nelson Cruz should be in the lineup every single day as a way to be sure that he has his rhythm back after a long stay on the disabled list. He looks rusty and the rust needs to get knocked off before the postseason gets started. If the Rangers have any hopes of contribution from Mitch Moreland, it would be a good idea to feed him at-bats as well. That might be a lost cause, though.

    On the pitching side, the Rangers need to figure out what order they are throwing their pitchers and then set up the rotation for the rest of the season to make sure everyone is lined up. C.J. Wilson is clearly going in Game One next Friday and he's set to go on Monday as well, so his workload needs to be managed. Right now Colby Lewis is behind Wilson in the rotation, but it might not stay that way once next week rolls around.

    The final big order of business is sussing out the makeup of the roster. Do they go with 11 pitchers and, if so, does that 11th spot go to Koji Uehara? Is the utility infielder going to be Andres Blanco or Omar Quintanilla? Does Matt Treanor go to keep Mike Napoli flexible or does Endy Chavez make more sense as a glove and pinch runner?

    Those are the priorities for the last week of the regular season, because fulfilling them will guarantee several more weeks to come in the future.