Seven runs ought to be enough.
Five off Cahill, chasing him after five, ought to mean a W.
Even with your number five starter and number five reliever asked to carry the heaviest load. It ought to be enough.
But maybe they’re not really your number five’s right now.
Tomorrow it’s C.J. Wilson vs. Josh Outman, the kind of lefthander that often gives Texas fits, and once that game gets underway the Angels will play twice before the Rangers play next.
I’ve said it here before, and I’ll repeat it: Magic numbers don’t mean a thing in this year’s race. They’re meaningless, and won’t ever show up in this space this season.
All that matters right now is that one loss separates Texas and Los Angeles at the moment, and with three games to finish the regular season in Anaheim, and Dan Haren and Ervin Santana and Jered Weaver slated to start them, it’s fair to conclude that the Angels ought to be favored, objectively, to win two of those three, which would erase the present one-loss difference between the two teams.
Hey, guess what: Since Texas had the Angels down, 8-3, after five innings on July 20, the Rangers have a 26-23 record, and Los Angeles is 29-19, or 3.5 games better.
And since the Rangers were three outs away from completing a four-game sweep in Anaheim on August 18, Texas is 10-12, and Los Angeles is 15-6, a 5.5-game edge.
You can counter all this with the standard “Meh, arbitrary endpoints” response, and point to July 20 and August 18 as nothing more than 2 of 162, and that’s fine. Whatever gets you through the day.
But it’s real.
All that said, what gets me through the day, and will get me through this spectacular, memorable, emotional, sportsy dogfight, is this:
Texas is going to the playoffs.
Because Texas is the better baseball team.