When the Texas Rangers began the first of a three-game series against the Houston Astros on Sept. 23, many looked past it and straight to the four games that followed against the Los Angeles Angels.
They knew the Rangers had to go 7-0 to have any chance at the game they’ll play tonight against the Tampa Bay Rays. They knew everything had to go their way, and even if it didn’t, they had to come out on top in each of the next seven games to be able to continue the postseason.
Here we are, as the American League gets wild tonight.
Remember that game against the Kansas City Royals on Sept. 22, the game that looked well in hand in the favor of the Rangers? Remember how it ended, with a grand slam by Kansas City’s Justin Maxwell in the bottom of the 10th that couldn’t have been more of a punch in the gut?
Had Texas won that game, would we be talking about a game against the Rays or would the Rangers be gearing up for Game 163 against the Cleveland Indians instead of having to win Monday night just to have the chance to travel to Cleveland for Game 164?
I guess one game does matter.
So, if you’re Cleveland, who are you rooting for? Do you want the team that’s won its past seven games, including a four-game, dominating sweep of the Angels? Or do you want the Tampa Bay Rays, who don’t have quite the momentum on their side, if you believe in those sorts of things?
Would you believe the Indians will be rooting for the Rangers tonight? Would you believe they would rather face Texas, even with Nelson Cruz returning, a solid rotation, and an even better bullpen, than the Tampa Bay Rays, who almost gave up their postseason in Game 162, surviving a late rally from the Toronto Blue Jays before finally closing out a 7-6 win and the right to play one more?
Believe it, because it’s true.
The Indians and Rangers sounds more like an old west movie than two teams that could face each other in the wild card round.
However, Cleveland has won five of the six meetings between these two teams this season and would rather face a team not exactly known for being patient at the plate.
So, they’ll watch at home like a lot of us will Monday night and wait for the results before we start talking about a second wild card game.
It’s Martin Perez against David Price.
Happy Monday everybody.