The Texas Rangers’ magic number is “2” after last night’s crisply played 5-0 win in Anaheim. And now it’s on to Seattle for the regular season’s final series against the Mariners. Four games against the M’s. You couldn’t write a better setup.
Any combination of Rangers wins and Astros losses that equals two gives Texas its first AL West title since 2016. Technically, the Rangers will clinch a Wild Card berth with just one more win. Two wins gives them the division championship. A Wild Card slot means the Rangers play a two-out-of-three first round series, with all three games on the road. The division crown means a first round bye and home field advantage in the ALDS. There’s a lot riding on these four games in Seattle.
And this is the perfect script. Seattle has been a nightmare for the Rangers lately. Since 2020, Texas has a better record in Houston than in Seattle. The Rangers are 4-22 in Seattle during the three seasons from 2020-2022. They have been both blown out and walked off in Seattle too many times to count over the past three-plus years. Corey Seager’s batting average at T-Mobile Park is .133! Now, to get into the playoffs for the first time in seven seasons, Texas must win one game at there. Win two and they clinch the franchise’s eighth division championship. Can they exercise those demons? Can they beat the one team in the one place that’s given them so much heartache? Who wrote this? It’s delicious.
Texas could win tonight, clinch the playoff berth, and spray champagne all over each other in the visitor’s clubhouse. Then they could rinse and repeat and win tomorrow night and spray more champagne all over everybody for winning the division. It could be a really fun next couple of nights for the Rangers.
The beauty is that nobody saw this coming six months ago and certainly nobody saw it coming the way it has. The team that spent $250-million on pitching is being led now by Dane Dunning and Jose LeClerc. Dunning leads the Rangers in victories. LeClerc appears to be this team’s closer now. And it’s working.
The 162-game season is coming down to the final four games. Everything’s going to be settled in Seattle.