The Edge Of Glory (Or Armageddon)
It comes to this. One game. Whatever happens this afternoon determines whether the Texas Rangers get to rest for a couple of days before starting a best of five series against the Tigers or only one day’s rest before facing a 1-game face-off against the Yankees or the Orioles to decide who gets to face the other of those two teams in the ALDS.
When the month of May concluded, the Rangers winning their third straight AL West crown was a given. Even though Mike Trout had breathed new life into the Angels, they were so far out, it was unlikely they’d be able to catch up. The Mariners and A’s were afterthoughts, not expected to do anything in 2012. Well, not quite true. The A’s were doing a great job in the early going being shut out by other teams. Their offense was starting to rank right up there with Seattle in ineptitude.
On June 30, after losing their third straight game to the Rangers in a four game set, the A’s stood at a surprisingly good (for them) 37-42. That still only got them a 13-game deficit in the standings at month’s end.
81 games later, the two teams are tied in the standings. At 2:30 PM CDT this afternoon, the two teams will meet one last time in the regular season. The winner wins the AL West.
Two years ago in the ALCS, the upstart Texas Rangers made the Evil Empire New York Yankees look like an old team with a 6-game victory that propelled them into their first ever World Series appearance. Over the past two days, the Oakland A’s have made the Rangers look like the old team. They have swagger, a spring in their step and a loose atmosphere. The team that has been in first place since the early part of April has looked tight, tired and lifeless.
My team might still have a rabbit left in their hat this afternoon. I certainly hope so. But I give credit where credit is due. I’m expecting to lose the game today and seeing Texas as one of the two Wild Card teams. They’ve shown me nothing over the last week to give me confidence they can do this. The Oakland A’s have shown me they have the toughness to get the job done. If they do, good for them. It’s been many years since Oakland has had anything to cheer about.
Rangers manager Ron Washington has said it many a time the best team doesn’t always win, but the team playing the best baseball usually does. Right now, there’s no question who’s playing the best baseball, and their home base isn’t Arlington, Texas.