Ian Kinsler #5 of the Texas Rangers is congratulated by teammates after scoring on a sacrifice fly by Josh Hamilton #32 in the first inning against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on July 15, 2011 in Seattle, Washington.
When the Texas Rangers head to Los Angeles for a three-game set against the Angels on Sept. 26, the fate of the AL West could be up for grabs as the Angels sit 2 1/2 games out entering this weekend.
But judging by the schedule over the next two weeks, it should be squarely in the Rangers hands before the Angels have any chance to have a direct say in it.
The Rangers play 12 of their next 15 games against the AL West, and none of those are against the Angels. The Rangers host Oakland this weekend, host Cleveland, go to Seattle, go to Oakland, host Seattle then go to Los Angeles for the season's final three games.
The Rangers are 28-14 against the AL West this year and could very feasibly go 9-3 or 10-2 in that 12 games against the West with the Indians mixed in. The way the pitching matchups are set up, the Rangers should face Felix Hernandez just once in the six remaining games against the Mariners.
In the meantime, the Angels host the Yankees, who are clinging to a division lead of their own, and go to Toronto for a four-game set. They also have two series against the A's mixed in. The last time the Angels played the A's was coming out of the all-star break in July, and the A's took three of four.
All the Rangers need is a four-game lead going into that last series and it'll be out of reach for the Angels. Even a three-game lead would mean the Angels would have to sweep the Rangers to force a play-in game. The Angels haven't come close to sweeping the Rangers recently.
So don't worry, Rangers fans, as fun as it might be for that last series to mean something, it'd be a whole lot less stressful if it didn't.