Texas has had a nice cushion for most of the season in the American League West.
A nice cushion, but the Rangers are certainly not feeling too comfortable. Their lead over the A’s is just three games, and those teams will play seven times over the final 10 games of the season.
“I wish I was 10 games up,”’ Rangers manager Ron Washington told the Dallas Morning News. “We’ll get them seven more times, and we’ll see what happens.
“They’re going to throw a heck of a lot of blows at us, and we’ve got a good defense. We can block.”
That’s setting up as a battle of top-five teams. Here are this week’s rankings:
1 Nationals (Last week: 1): Heading into Sunday night’s game, Bryce Harper was batting .327 with nine homers and 18 RBIs in his last 27 games.
2 Rangers (2): Haven’t lost consecutive series in a month.
3 Reds (3): Johnny Cueto’s struggles in September (8.22 ERA) are reason for concern.
4 Braves (4): Got their mojo back with a sweep of the Nationals.
5 A's (7): Oakland’s 44-game streak of pitchers who had walked three or fewer batters ended on Sunday.
6 Orioles (8): Everyone who’s not a Yankees fan is pulling for Baltimore.
7 Yankees (6): Calmed the frantic fan base by taking two of three from the Rays.
8 Giants (5): Ryan Vogelsong has given up 20 runs in 17.2 innings.
9 White Sox (11): Need to win today to go three up, because they go to KC for three games after that.
10 Angels (10): A sweep of the Rangers this week would really muddy the waters in the AL West.
11 Rays (9): A 1-5 trip to Baltimore and New York may signal the beginning of the end.
12 Tigers (12): Former Mizzou star Max Scherzer has been phenomenal this season.
13 Cardinals (13): Sad to see Lance Berkman struggle with so many injuries.
14 Brewers (18): Ryan Braun hit his 200th career home run on Sunday.
15 Dodgers (14): Saturday’s comeback win against the Cardinals clinched season series for LA, which would play host to St. Louis in a one-game playoff.
16 Pirates (15): Technically, they’re still alive for the playoffs, but they’ve got to start winning again.
17 Phillies (16): Made things interesting, but losing three of four to the Astros ain’t gonna cut it.
18 Diamondbacks (17): Rumor has it Chris Young and/or Justin Upton may not be back in 2013.
19 Padres (20): San Diego has won 23 of its last 30 at Petco Park.
20 Mariners (19): First baseman Justin Smoak has his average all the way up to .199.
21 Royals (22): Snap off a sweet 16-game winning streak to end the season and the Royals wil finish above .500.
22 Mets (21): Starts pivotal 10-game home stand tonight as it battles for fourth place in the East.
23 Blue Jays (23): Is manager John Farrell on the Red Sox radar?
24 Red Sox (24): The Red Sox have not been caught stealing since Aug. 29, swiping 16 straight bases in that time.
25 Marlins (25): Hard to believe mild-mannered Ozzie Guillen would blast someone on Twitter.
26 Twins (26): Lefty Glen Perkins is the Twins’ new closer.
27 Cubs (27): Rookie Anthony Rizzo was the first Cub since Aramis Ramirez in July, 2010 to have six RBIs in a game.
28 Rockies (29): Colorado lost season series to the Padres for the first time since 2001.
29 Indians (28): Cleveland’s lineup on Thursday against Texas included the 5-6-7-8 hitters who had a combined zero home runs. Naturally, Cleveland won.
30 Astros (30): They’re gladly stuck on 99 losses.
| Pete Grathoff, firstname.lastname@example.org