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Texas Rangers a Lock for AL West Crown

SEATTLE - AUGUST 05:  Nelson Cruz #17 of the Texas Rangers celebrates with teammates after defeating the Seattle Mariners 6-0 at Safeco Field on August 5, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Brian HaleContributor IAugust 6, 2010

Why the AL West race is already over…

 

Currently, the AL West standings are as follows:

 

Team                    W            L             GB         GR

Rangers                63           45           0              54

A’s                          54           53           8.5          55

Angels                  54           56           10           52

Mariners              40           69           23.5        53

 

 

For the sake of time and space, we are going to omit the Mariners from the conversation. For the purposes of this argument, we assume the Rangers will severely underachieve their final 54 games of the year and only win half, and go 27-27. Should that be the case, the Rangers would finish with a record of 90—72. We use this number as a basis for the argument.

 

Let’s start with the team currently occupying second place—the Oakland A’s. They are only one game over .500 and have 55 games remaining—the most in the division. In order to catch the Rangers, they would have to go 36-19 the rest of the season. Can Oakland really play to a level of 17 games over .500 when they are currently just one game over? Here is a look at their remaining opponents and how many games against each:

 

* Texas (10)

LA Angels (6)

Seattle (10)

* Minnesota (6)

* White Sox (3)

Kansas City (3)

Cleveland (3)

* Toronto (3)

* Tampa Bay (4)

* NY Yankees (4)

* Boston (3)

 

Can they play 17 games over .500 with that schedule? No. Each team with an asterisk currently has a better record than Oakland. That’s 33 of their 55 remaining games against teams with a better record. And that’s not including 6 games against the Angels with whom Oakland has only won 6 of 13 meetings so far this season. Prediction: Oakland will finish their final 55 games with a record of 30-25 and finish the season 84-78.

 

Moving on to those hated (and, yes, third-place) Angels who currently sit 10 games behind the Rangers, and 11 games behind the Rangers in the loss column. The Angels have the fewest remaining games to be played of any team in the division and they have more ground to make up than Oakland. In order to catch the Rangers (again, assuming the Rangers play .500 ball the remainder of the season and finish 90-72), the Angels would have to comprise a record of 36-16—a winning percentage of almost 70%. Can the Angels really set a pace of winning 7 of every 10 games the rest of the season?  Here is a look at their remaining opponents and how many games against each:

 

* Detroit (3)

Kansas City (3)

* Minnesota (3)

* White Sox (3)

Cleveland (6)

* Toronto (3)

* Boston (3)

* Tampa Bay (6)

Baltimore (3)

Seattle (6)

* Oakland (6)

* Texas (7)

 

The Angels definitely have an easier schedule than Oakland, but they have more ground to make up and fewer games to do it. Again, each team with an asterisk currently has a better record than the Angels. That’s 34 of their remaining 52 games against teams with a better record. If any ground is to be made up, August would be the Angels best opportunity. Their final 16 games of the season are as follows:

 

@ Tampa Bay (3)

vs. Texas (3)

vs. White Sox (3)

vs. Oakland (3)

@ Texas (4)

 

That’s 13 of their final 16 games against teams currently occupying at least a share of a division lead. Do the Angels even stand a fighting chance of going 36-16 against that schedule? No way. Prediction: The Angels will finish their final 52 games with a record of 24-28 and finish the season 78-84—in third place.

The AL West race is over. The Texas Rangers are primed for a deep run into the postseason and are built for years to come. A new era in the AL West is about to begin. GO RANGERS!

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