The Oakland Athletics will attempt to complete a 13-game comeback to claim Major League Baseball’s American League West division title by defeating the Texas Rangers in their last game of the regular season this afternoon.
The A’s defeated Texas 3-1 last night to tie the Rangers atop the division with 93-68 records. It was Oakland’s fifth straight win. The A’s were 13 games behind Texas on June 30.
The two teams will meet at 12:35 local time today at the Oakland Coliseum. The winner is assured a spot in the best-of-five-game AL division series, rather than a one-game wild-card playoff game that matches the two teams with the best record who didn’t win a division. The losing team will face either the New York Yankees or Baltimore Orioles in a wild-card game on Oct. 5.
The Rangers are a slight favorite, according to oddsmakers, with the -115 money line, meaning a winning $115 wager on Texas would yield a $100 profit. Bettors would have to bet $105 to win $100 on the Athletics.
Right-handed pitcher A.J. Griffin (7-1) will start for the A’s against Texas right-hander Ryan Dempster (12-8). Griffin, a rookie, is 3-0 at home this season; Dempster is 7-3 since being acquired from the Chicago Cubs on July 31.
The A’s, who clinched their first postseason spot since 2006 two days ago, began the season next-to-last among the 30 Major League Baseball teams with a $55 million payroll, compared with a $121 million payroll for Texas that ranks sixth highest, according to USA Today’s annual survey.
In the AL East, the Yankees maintained their one-game lead over Tampa Bay with a 12-inning, 4-3 win over the Boston Red Sox last night.
The Yankees (94-67) and Orioles (93-68) have one game left in the regular season. New York hosts Boston again tonight and the Orioles play their finale at Tampa Bay. The teams, both assured of making the postseason as wild cards even if they fail to win the division, would meet in a one-game playoff tomorrow in Baltimore to determine the AL East champion if they are tied after today’s games. The Yankees’ Hiroki Kuroda (15-11) faces Boston’s Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-6), while the Orioles’ Chris Tillman (9-2) will pitch against Tampa Bay’s Jeremy Hellickson (9-11).
In the National League, the Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals both won last night and remain tied for the best record in baseball at 97-64. The Reds have clinched the NL Central division title and the Nationals are winners of the NL East.
Even though they lost 3-1 to the Reds, the St. Louis Cardinals clinched the second NL wild-card spot when the Los Angeles Dodgers lost 4-3 to the NL West champion San Francisco Giants. The Atlanta Braves hold the other NL wild-card spot.