The good news for the Texas Rangers as they head into their final 13 games is that not a single one of them is against the Seattle Mariners.
The Mariners just cooled off the Rangers over the weekend by taking two of three games. Seattle won the season series 12-7, playing against Texas as they were expected to play against everyone this season.
The Rangers, though, can’t complain about their homestand, going 7-3 and moving from 1 1/2 games behind the Houston Astros in the American League West to 1 1/2 games ahead. Not bad for 10 days of work.
The work isn’t over, however, with the Rangers hitting the road for six games beginning Tuesday. First up is a three-game series against the Oakland A’s at America’s worst ballpark — O.co Coliseum — followed by three big games at Houston.
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After that, the Rangers play three at home against the Detroit Tigers and four more at Globe Life Park against the Los Angeles Angels to end the season.
The Rangers have fixed their home woes, going 23-7 since getting trounced 21-5 on July 28 by the New York Yankees, and have been solid on the road all season. Their division woes, though, aren’t entirely cured with 10 of their final 13 games against West teams.
41-34 Rangers record on the road this season. They begin their final road trip Tuesday.
The Rangers have only one winning record against a West foe — a 12-4 mark against the Astros. The lowly A’s, who have the worst record in the AL, are 10-6 against the Rangers this season, and the Angels are 10-5.
That’s a 30-36 division record for the Rangers. Yikes.
11-20 Rangers record this season against the A’s (6-10) and the Angels (5-10). The Rangers are 12-4 against the Astros.
“Yeah, those games are important,” shortstop Elvis Andrus said. “You gain ground every time you beat somebody in the division. These next two weeks are going to be against our division.”
Here’s a look at the Rangers’ remaining four series:
When: 9:05 p.m. Tuesday, FSSW, Rangers LHP Martin Perez (3-5, 4.96) vs. Athletics LHP Sean Nolin (1-1, 3.24); 9:05 p.m. Wednesday, FSSW, Rangers RHP Colby Lewis (16-8, 4.41) vs. Athletics LHP Felix Doubront (3-2, 4.95); 2:35 p.m. Thursday, Rangers RHP Yovani Gallardo (12-11, 3.41) vs. Athletics TBA
Series tidbits: Rangers are 6-10 this season against the A’s, 3-4 at O.co Coliseum; A’s are 22-33 in the second half and have been eliminated from postseason contention, while Rangers are 37-22 and lead the AL West; Rangers could miss Cy Young candidate Sonny Gray for the second straight series.
Players to watch: Rangers OF Shin-Soo Choo (.327, 3 HRs, 10 RBIs in 2015 vs. Oakland); A’s OF Josh Reddick (.442, 3 HRs, 15 RBIs vs. Rangers)
He said it: “This late when you’re fighting to go to the postseason, you want to play teams that are in the same fight as you. But they have no pressure. It’s tough to play teams like that.”
— Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus
When: 7:10 p.m. Friday; 12:05 p.m. Saturday; 1:10 p.m. Sunday
Series tidbits: Rangers are 12-4 this season against the Astros, 4-2 at Minute Maid Park; Rangers have won seven straight in the season series; Rangers outscored Astros 33-13 in four-game sweep last week at Globe Life Park.
Players to watch: Rangers 2B Rougned Odor (.346, 2 HR, 11 RBIs in 2015 vs. Astros); Astros SP Dallas Keuchel (13-0, 1.49 ERA at home, entering Monday)
He said it: “Coming up through their system, we always had some young talent. A lot of the guys who are a big part of their success this year are from that young group.”
— Rangers outfielder Delino DeShields, a former Astros prospect
When: 7:05 p.m. Sept. 28; 7:05 p.m. Sept. 29; 2:05 p.m. Sept. 30
Series tidbits: Rangers are 3-1 this season against the Tigers, with all four games at Comerica Park; through Sunday, Tigers were 18-26 after their fire sale at the July 31 trade deadline; Ian Kinsler batted .500 (6 for 12, 1 HR, 4 RBIs) last year in first trip to Globe Life Park as an opposing player.
Players to watch: Tigers 1B Miguel Cabrera (.643 average, 1.617 OPS, this season vs. Rangers). Rangers 3B Adrian Beltre (.326, 12 HRs, 51 RBIs in career vs. Tigers)
He said it: “They’re still a good team. We’ve got to come out ready. Miguel’s one of the best hitters in the game. You’ve definitely got to be on your toes.”
— Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland
vs. Los Angeles
When: 7:05 p.m. Oct. 1; 7:05 p.m. Oct. 2; 7:05 p.m. Oct. 3; 2:05 p.m. Oct. 4
Series tidbits: Rangers are 5-10 this season against the Angels, 1-5 at Globe Life Park; the Angels won the 2014 season series 14-5; Josh Hamilton, who could be able to play the outfield before the end of the season, is 3 for 14 (.214) this season vs. his old team.
Players to watch: Angels OF Mike Trout (.331, 9 HRs, 32 RBIs in 38 career games at Globe Life Park). Rangers 1B/OF Mike Napoli (.326, 18 HRs, 37 RBIs in 50 career games vs. Angels, his first team)
He said it: “He’s really good, but I feel like you just kind of pick your misses wisely with him. There’s one area of the plate you don’t want to make a mistake in, so it’s just about avoiding the area. That’s all I think about.”
— Rangers closer Shawn Tolleson on facing reigning MVP Mike Trout