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Odds at All-Star Break: 12-1
Record Since All-Star Break: 4-8
Overall Record: 58-49
Odds on Tuesday Morning: 14-1
Trade Deadline Moves: Acquired Matt Garza from Cubs
Current Odds: 17-1
No matter where I put this line, I get the feeling it's going to get the most complaints.
As is, Rangers fans will complain that their odds should be much better because they traded for Matt Garza and will be getting a ton of pitchers back from the disabled list within the month. Meanwhile, Orioles and Indians fans will complain that there's no way the Rangers should be ahead of them here when the Rangers are behind them in the standings.
Everyone, stay calm and let me explain.
First, to the Rangers fans.
Your team lost eight of the first 10 games after the All-Star Break, including getting swept by both Cleveland and Baltimore. You're sliding hopelessly out of the AL West chase, and the jury is still out on whether you'll have Nelson Cruz for the rest of the season. The pitching rotation is great, but there's no way you currently have a better chance at a World Series than the teams ahead of you.
To the other contenders for the second wild-card spot, I submit the stretch of games from Aug. 9 through Sept. 1 as evidence favoring the Rangers. Over those 23 days, the Rangers play seven games against Houston, six against Seattle, three each against the Twins and White Sox, and two games against the Brewers.
The combined winning percentage of those opponents is .407. During the same span on the calendar, Baltimore's opponents have a .533 winning percentage, Cleveland's foes boast a .506 record and the Yankees deal with opponents winning 51.9 percent of their games.
That should be enough for Texas to snag the second wild card, entering into a dreaded one-game playoff against either Boston or Tampa Bay. All things considered, if anything, 17-1 is too generous.