Could it be a two-horse race for the AL West Division Crown?

The standings show three teams in the hunt for the division, but there is reason to believe one squad is already out.
Los Angeles Angels v Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Angels v Texas Rangers / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

Baseball fandom in September includes plenty of scoreboard-watching. I am following teams I haven't followed all year (see Mets and Red Sox). Why? Because they play a big part in helping the Mariners whittle down their magic number. According to Omni Calculator, the Mariners' magic number is 29. Some combination of Mariner wins, and Astro losses equaling 29 should garner the hometown team the American League West division crown.

I have yet to write the Texas Rangers off; I see the Astros as more of a threat. While the Mariners went nuclear over three weeks, the Rangers tanked, blowing games in various ways. They've walked the bases loaded multiple times, lost games of walkoff hits, and even dropped a game last night thanks to some poor baserunning and a bases loaded hit by pitch in the 10th.

Their bullpen is different from earlier in the season - less reliable. Manager Bruce Bochy is overusing lefty relievers Wil Smith and Aroldis Chapman, and the team is paying the price. Chapman has thrown in four of the past five days, while Smith has stepped to the bump in seven of the team's past nine games. 

Additionally, the Rangers are a different team on the road than at the launching pad that is Globe Life Field. 

Home (42-24)

Away (33-34)







129 wRC+

109 wRC+

4.14 ERA

3.99 ERA

The Rangers start a three-game set against the pesky Minnesota Twins this weekend, followed by a critical matchup with the Astros. Their September schedule also includes Toronto (4), Boston (3), and the Mariners (7). Those last ten games will be tension-filled with lots of scoreboard-watching. I've never been a fan of math, so let's forget the magic number and prepare for a magical September where the Mariners and Astros battle it for the division crown.