After the Texas Rangers were swept on Cleveland, and shut out in two straight games on July 28, Rangers skipper Ron Washington called a closed-door meeting to hash some things out.
The Rangers had fallen six games out of the AL West lead — the largest deficit they'd had in the division since 2009 — and all hope appeared lost.
Since that day, the Rangers have gone 22-6 and have made up nine games in the standings entering the weekend with a three-game lead over the Oakland A's. We talked then about how favorable the August schedules set up for the Rangers, who played a bunch of poor teams while the A's were set for a tough road.
That ends this weekend when the Rangers host the lowly Minnesota Twins, and the A's host the hard-charging Tampa Bay Rays. After that, things turn around for both teams.
The Rangers head to Oakland on Labor Day for a three-game set, and then the teams meet again the following weekend. The Rangers also have series mixed in with the Pittsburgh Pirates and a four-game road set in Tampa.
Meanwhile, the A's will face just one winning team in September — the two series against the Rangers. Other than that they get the Twins twice, the Angels twice and the Astros and Mariners.
Basically, it's looking like the race for the West will be decided by the six games between the two teams — three in Oakland and three in Arlington.
On the season, the Rangers are 8-5 in the meetings between the two teams and took two of three in Oakland at the beginning of August. The Rangers' pitching has been phenomenal — schedule considered — over the past month as they have not allowed more than five runs in a game, and five just once.
So in actuality, you can look at the fact that the A's schedule sets up much more nicely than the Rangers' does this month, but when you think about it, it's all about those six games.