What are you really worth?
Have to turn the volume down a bit this week due to work responsibilities, but we’ll get the full-blown reports back up and running soon enough.
In the meantime, maybe the most bizarre drill-down on the 2011 Rangers season is this:
As of May 9, Texas had a 1-4 record for the season against Oakland. And Los Angeles was 2-1 against the A’s (and in first place, a game up on Oakland and two up on Texas).
Since then, against the A’s, the Rangers have gone 10-1 and the Angels have gone 3-8. And the division has turned.
All told in 2011, Texas is 11-5 against Oakland, and Los Angeles is 5-9 against Oakland, a difference of 5.0 games between two teams separated by just 3.0 games, with 15 to go.
Stated another way, if the Rangers and Angels had identical success against the A’s this season – whether they’d both split with Oakland or were both four games over .500 against them or both four games under .500 against them or whatever else – Los Angeles would now have a 2.0-game edge on the Rangers going into these final couple weeks.
The A’s, in one way of looking at things, have been the difference-makers in the AL West.
Yes, you can also look at the Rangers’ and Angels’ disparate results against the Red Sox, or the Royals, in smaller samples, but those two clubs play Texas and Los Angeles half as often as Oakland does. Plus the A’s draw the Angels (five games) and Rangers (three games) eight more times before the season ends.
With Cleveland in town, it’s Matt Harrison-Justin Masterson tonight, Derek Holland-David Huff (one career start against Texas: a complete game win [two runs on four hits] on April 15, 2010) tomorrow, and Fausto Carmona-Alexi Ogando on Thursday, a matchup of two struggling righthanders.
Meanwhile, tonight the Angels send Jerome Williams out against Guillermo Moscoso, authors of baseball’s two most shocking starts last week, and Jered Weaver against Rich Harden tomorrow, before enjoying their final day off of the season on Thursday.
Two former Rangers righthanders have the opportunity to do more for the Rangers’ playoff chances in the next two days then they ever did while they were here.
Then Texas is off to Seattle and Oakland for six, with a day off in between, while Los Angeles visits Baltimore and Toronto for seven.
The Rangers then host the Mariners for three, and the Angels host the hated A’s for three, before the three-game finale in Anaheim between Texas and Los Angeles, which could mean everything or nothing.
Oakland may have a lot to say about that part, continuing a season-long story line that won’t have the same 2011 epitaph strength for the A’s as “Moneyball” hitting a theater near you, but which has been colossal for the two teams sitting atop their division.
The tagline for the movie, which opens the day after the Rangers leave Oakland and the day the A’s arrive in Anaheim, reads: “What Are You Really Worth?”
For the A’s themselves, this year, the answer may be someone else’s division title.