So far, the A's have taken a few bumps on their 10-game road gauntlet, but having gone 2-4 thus far, remain firmly in the playoff hunt. Now, the road takes them to Texas for a four-game series against the first-place Rangers. A series win, and the AL West could very well come down to a three-game season finale in Oakland.
But a series loss could see the A's not only eliminated from the division race, but have the Los Angeles Angels and Tampa Bay Rays breathing down their necks for a wild-card position as well. Needless to say, these four loom as perhaps the most important of the season.
That said, there are 10 games remaining. After this series, there will be six at home (three vs. Seattle, three vs. Texas) to close the regular season. To make the playoffs, I projected the A's would need to win 91 games. That would mean going 5-5.
With the division still in play, here are the five keys to the A's catching the Rangers as we wrap up the 2012 regular season.