Starting on the second day of September this season a series began that would have serious implications on the AL West division. The A’s were at home to take on the division leading Texas Rangers in a matchup that could have seen the Rangers extend their lead in the division to two games with a series win or four games with a sweep or the A’s tying for the division lead with a series win or taking it over by two games with a sweep. The implications were dramatic and the intensity was tangible at the Coliseum. This series was what would propel one of these teams forward and one team struggling to regain its grounding.
The A’s won the series and tied Texas at the top of the standings. The A’s went 5-2 in their next seven games. The Rangers went 1-5 in their next six games (including one off day). This was the build up to the second clash that would decide the division. The games set up exactly the same except for the pitching matchups were different this time around. The teams had different momentums going especially after how well the A’s had played in their two series after the first Texas series. The Rangers were swept by the Pittsburgh Pirates at the Ballpark Arlington and were looking to bounce back against the team they were chasing.
The A’s won the first game of the series albeit with some very shaky pitching late in the game. The comeback attempt could have motivated the Rangers to come back the next day and start to return to the club they were. Then Bartolo Colon came out and shut the Rangers down. It came down to Sunday. The A’s had to scratch Jarrod Parker on the last game of the series less than hour before first pitch and replace him with the inconsistent Tommy Milone. The Rangers finally got a break their way.
The Rangers could not get it done however. Milone worked around some location issues to go five innings and giving up only one run and the Rangers time was running out. The A’s bullpen came in and shut the door not only the game, but on the Rangers season. The A’s went onto handily win the division over the Rangers and Texas was left battling to even make the playoffs.
The two series against the A’s was a microcosm of the Rangers September. They had some chances and never could capitalize enough to make it count. That held true in Game 163 as the Tampa Bay Rays and David Price went into Arlington and beat the Rangers ending their painful season. What started the tumble for the Rangers? What pushed the team over the edge to elimination? It all started on September 2nd, Memorial Day, at the O.co Coliseum. The A’s won that game and so began the demise of the Texas Rangers. For the second season in a row the A’s owned the Texas Rangers in the final month. The AL West is now officially theirs.