It has to be. But it is not all about me, and that’s the way I chose to look at these things. The Rangers should be able to stand their ground when they play the Angels to close out the year, holding on to win the division and leaving Houston with the second American League wild card spot.
However, the Astros have the easier schedule, and if they can keep hitting long balls the way they have been over their last ten games, their sudden power renaissance could very likely land them a spot in the postseason. The win put Texas up four and half games with the two weekend games remaining. “We’re hanging in there”. It was a cold and rainy night in the Bronx, so not many people were there to witness it in person, but the Yankees are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2012.
I have no idea whether any of this has a tangible on-field benefit for the Yankees, I just know it seems like they’re be better off facing a team that has to battle right down to Game 162 to make the wildcard game.
In case of a play-in game for the wild-card berth, Houston would travel to Minnesota if it’s the Twins; the Astros would be home if it’s the Angels.
The Twins have been a little overlooked because of this western ordeal, but they are maybe the most surprising playoff contender of the bunch. They have to go to Baltimore to play this weekend but will Joaquin let them?
“It feels good but we’re obviously not finished yet”, Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe said, per Jordan Bastian and Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com. The less of a breather their opponent can take, the better I’ll feel.
The Rangers have won eight straight Cole Hamels starts. Santana has been stellar of late, posting a 4-0 record with a 1.47 ERA over his past six starts. Houston is 14-3 in their last 17 interleague games, 20-6 against the NL West, and 27-10 in Keuchel’s last 37 starts. That is the definition of a “stopper”.
Trailing 6-3, the Astros got a three-run homer from Chris Carter, his 24th of the season, in the sixth inning to draw even. Rasmus’ blooper off Danny Farquahar (1-7) over a drawn-in infield scored pinch-runner Jonathan Villar in the seventh to give Houston the lead.
An important note: As of today, the Astros have played two more games than the Indians, as they have an off-day on Thursday and the Indians have yet to have a game rescheduled from their series with Detroit. The Rangers, who lead the AL West by 2 ½ games, play the final four games against the Angels at home in Arlington, Texas. Garrett Richards, the Angels ace who has five quality starts in his last six outings, opposes Zito, making him available to pitch the season finale against Texas on short rest if needed. I’ll be rooting for a three-team race for that final wildcard spot all week.
“Safe? There’s nothing safe in baseball”, Banister said Sunday, per the Associated Press (via ESPN.com). There’s also the matter of those teams potentially wearing out their bullpens – there is an off-day before the wildcard game, so this might not be that big a deal – and older position players down the stretch just to get to the postseason. It’s about competing. These guys, they’ve never taken that approach. We’ve been doing it all year.