Oakland scored five runs in the sixth inning to sink the Rangers 8-7 Saturday. Scott Sizemore‘s pinch hit grand slam off Yoshinori Tateyama was the big blow. The loss ended a nine game winning streak against the Athletics. Meanwhile, in Anaheim, Dan Haren threw a 4-hit shutout against the Yankees to give the Angels their third straight win.
The Rangers now have only 16 games left to play. The Angels have 17 games left and will host the Rangers for the final three games of the season. The A.L. West race has become the tightest in the majors. The runner-up in this division could be left out of the playoffs. The Tampa Bay Rays appear to be back in the race for the wildcard and have the identical number of losses, 60, as the Rangers. Defending a league championship can be a difficult proposition, just ask the San Francisco Giants. I wouldn’t say it’s time for Rangers fans to panic but there is cause for concern. The starting pitchers have piled up a lot of high stress innings in the record-breaking Texas heat this summer. Nelson Cruz says he is ready to return to the lineup, but we will have to wait and see how manager Ron Washington feels about that. Hopefully the Rangers can get back in the win column against Oakland today and take care of business against the slumping Indians to finish out the homestand. It would be nice to go on a winning streak and make the season ending trip to Anaheim with an insurmountable lead.