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The American League Wild Card race is getting very close, and the next two weeks are going to be very entertaining for baseball fans. There are six teams fighting for two spots, all within 3.5 games of each other. As of right now the Tampa Bay Rays and the Texas Rangers hold the two spots, but both teams have struggled recently keeping the race very close.
A few weeks ago, not only did the Rangers playoff spot seem guaranteed, but it also seemed as though they would win their division. They have lost seven in a row and 13 of their last 16 games and now barely hold the second wild card spot.
MLB.com reported that before their seventh consecutive loss, to the Rays, the team had a players only meeting to try and figure out how to turn things back around. The Rangers are in the midst of a huge stretch in the schedule, one that has not gone well at all. They got swept by the Oakland A's, to all but remove themselves from the division race, and now they are in the middle of a four game series with the Rays.
Another huge series going on currently is between the Cleveland Indians and the Kansas City Royals. The Royals won the first game, and are now 2.5 games back of the Rangers, while the loss kept the Indians a half game back of a playoff spot. Other teams at the Rangers' heels are the Orioles (two games back) and the Yankees (2.5 games back).
During the seven-game losing streak the Rangers haven't even led a single game. When asked about the offensive struggles manager Ron Washington said "I'm not frustrated, I'm confused, I'm trying to figure out what we have to do to jump-start this offense," according to SportsDayDFW.
The Rangers finish up the four game set with the Rays, then take on another Wild Card competitor, the Kansas City Royals for three games to complete the road trip. They then finish the season with seven games at home against the Astros, and the Angels. The Rangers schedule will lighten up at the very end, but if this losing streak doesn't end very soon they may very well find themselves on the outside looking when that time comes around.
With the majority of the other playoff spots already locked up, the AL Wild Card is as tight as can be, and the final two weeks of the season will be worth watching to see how this race plays out.
Photo: Wikipedia Commons