It's a shame that there aren't going to be any other American League West teams in the playoffs this season.
If there were, the Rangers would have to go into the postseason as one of the heaviest favorites we've ever seen. Their two wins against the Mariners this weekend leaves them with a 32-16 record against the rest of the AL West this year, the best of any team in the division and the most wins the Rangers have ever picked up against the Westies since the American League went to the three-division format in 1994.
The success extends to individual players as well. Neftali Feliz has converted all 10 of his save chances against teams from the West, Ian Kinsler is hitting .309 against them and Michael Young has driven in 37 runs while posting a .331 average.
It's a shame that there aren't a couple more weeks left. The way that the Red Sox are playing, the Mariners would have a pretty healthy chance at the Wild Card.
Those wins have played a pretty significant role in keeping the Rangers ahead of the Angels. L.A. has gone 26-25 against the rest of the division this year and that gap is even larger than the one that separates the two teams in the standings. It is easy to look at the A's and Mariners and say that any halfway decent team should post win after win against them, but it obviously isn't quite as easy to pull it off.
You wind up playing a lot more games against your division than you play against the rest of the league, so the job you do against your rivals will go a long way toward deciding how your season plays out in total. The Rangers have taken care of their business and it is a big reason why they have a comfortable lead with the end of the season finally in sight.
With nine games left in the season, all against other teams in the division, it is also a big reason why you can feel confident that the lead isn't going anywhere. Feel free to include a boilerplate reminder that anything can happen in the game of baseball, but the one thing the baseball season offers us is a lot of evidence to draw conclusions.
After 48 games in the division, we know the Rangers have the secret sauce when it comes to beating the rest of the AL West. The final nine games shouldn't do anything but confirm what we already know.