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Athletics at Rangers: The End is Nigh

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MLB: Houston Astros at Texas Rangers Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

The weekend’s four game set versus the Texas Rangers will be the final series the A’s play all year. For a season that started with slight slivers of hope that were dutifully smashed to bits during the campaign’s opening months, this season has seen more good for the future of the franchise than bad. The A’s were one of the best offensive teams in the American League during the second half due to the influx of young prospects taking over the roster, and arguably the organization’s top three or four prospects haven’t even made the team yet. Injuries, trades, and fatigue hampered the A’s starting rotation all year, but the experience of a long season and a full offseason of recovery means it can only improve going forward, plus the team’s budget is so miniscule there are bound to be a veteran or two added to the rotation to make it more viable in the upcoming campaign. The A’s now have a definitive plan for a new stadium, and the team is staying in and embracing the city it had long been trying to scorn. Not bad for a losing year.

  • Houston: 98-60
  • Anaheim: 78-80
  • Seattle: 77-82
  • Texas: 76-82
  • Oakland: 73-85

What an awful division the AL West turned out to be this year.

If you look closely, you will notice that the A’s can finish their year in fourth place if they can sweep Texas in all four games. If the Mariners also lose out, this team can finish in a tie for third. Heading into this series, Texas has lost six straight ballgames, their losing skid starting with the A’s sweep of them at Rickey Henderson Field just one series previous.

It doesn’t quite carry the same weight, but a long and sustained second-half surge thanks, in large part, to rookies carrying the the load, leading to a dramatic four game sweep in the final series of the season to first catch, and then pass by, the Rangers in the AL West standings on game 162 is how the last successful Oakland A’s team got its roots, in 2012. The only change is that this team will have to do it on the road.

The Matchups

Thursday, September 28th at 5:05 - Sean Manaea vs Miguel Gonzalez

Friday, September 29th at 5:05 - Raul Alcantara vs Martin Perez

Saturday, September 30th at 5:05 - Daniel Gossett vs Andrew Cashner

Sunday, October 1st at 12:05 - TBD vs Cole Hamels

This final series, with the Rangers sputtering to the finish line and getting eliminated prior to the series, is all about soaking in the final moments of the surprisingly nice 2017 A’s season. It is a time to make a few more awe-inspiring displays of athleticism for the highlight reel, to avoid any dramatic injuries, and to have fun.

A sweep and a non-last place finish would be nice, too.