ARLINGTON — The American League West has come down to Oakland and Texas the last couple of seasons, and both times the A’s got the better of the Rangers.Texas has gone 9-10 (2013) and 8-11 (2012) against Oakland and finished second both years, 5 1/2 games and one game behind the A’s. The rivalry has created a healthy respect between the clubs.“You have to respect them. The last two years they’ve earned everything they have,” shortstop Elvis Andrus said. “They’ve been playing really great baseball and it’s always going to be a nice challenge for us, especially going out there and trying to win the series.”The Rangers play the A’s six times in their next nine games, including a three-game set in Oakland beginning Monday night.“They just know how to play. They can play little ball, they can beat you so many ways,” Andrus said. “It’s still going to be [just] another series for us. Nothing to get excited about it. We still have a lot of games besides the Oakland A’s.”But considering how the race has gone in recent years, the head-to-head series within the division could loom large.“Every time you play them, or any team in our division, it’s always good [to win.] You’re separating every time you win, but at the same time you can’t worry about what’s going to happen in the future.“You have to stay in the present and keep fighting every single day. I love to face them, especially from a couple years ago to now. It’s always a lot of fun.”Texas won the season series with Oakland in 2010 and 2011, the years the Rangers won the AL pennant. The Rangers went 10-9 in ’10 and 13-6 in 2011 against the A’s.
Stefan Stevenson 817-390-7760 Twitter: @StevensonFWST