There will not be any popping of Champagne corks if the Rangers find a way past the A's again on Tuesday night.
That's not just because of Josh Hamilton this time. It's because the Rangers will technically still have a little more work to do in order to call themselves the 2012 American League West champions.
Realistically, though, the race is over with a Rangers win. Another victory would make it a six-game lead with eight games left in the regular season, a lead that is safe from everything but the most epic collapse in the history of baseball.
Baseball Prospectus pegs the Rangers with a 97.5 percent chance of winning the division on Tuesday morning, which strongly suggests that the only thing standing in the way of their meter being full is the fact that the A's still have six games left with Texas. Without those games, the chances of the A's winning enough games on days when the Rangers lost games would be so small as to not be statistically significant.
And, should they lose on Tuesday night, even five of the last eight games won't be enough for the A's to have a serious shot at taking the division. They could sweep the Rangers in the remaining contests and still need help from the Angels, who are now just two games behind Oakland in the fight for a Wild Card spot.
So the A's really need to win these games just to guarantee themselves a shot at the postseason berth that they've been chasing all year. The schedule, which looked like it provided them with such a golden opportunity at the end of the year, has now started working against them. Not only are they at the mercy of the Rangers head-to-head, but they also have to watch the Angels play the Rangers over the weekend in games that they need both teams to lose to really feel good about themselves.
Two teams come into Tuesday night in control of their own destinies. If the A's can't figure out a path to victory, only one team is going to be able to say the same on Wednesday morning.