On August 31, it seemed as though the Texas Rangers had locked up a playoff berth in the AL.
They were either going to win the AL Wast or run away with the first Wild Card spot. However, since September 1, the Rangers have lost 12 out of 14 and have fallen a game behind the Tampa Bay Rays, and are only a half up on the Cleveland Indians in the Wild Card standings going into Tuesday’s game.
In those 14 games, Rangers starting pitchers went a combined 1-12, with the only win credited to Alexi Ogando in relief.
Ogando has been on and off the DL this year, he recently came off the DL on August 29, and they decided to bring him back slowly as a reliever. With a big lead in the Wild Card, this was a way to limit his innings and build strength back up in his shoulder. He appeared in four games and went 1-0, giving up zero runs in six innings while allowing only one hit and striking out five.
With their lead dwindling and their backs against the wall, the Rangers moved Ogando back into the rotation in place of Travis Blackley. In his first start since August 13, Ogando went five innings and struck out four while only giving up one run on two hits in a 7-1 Rangers win. The victory put the Rangers in a tie with the Rays for the two Wild Card spots and retained their half game lead on the Indians.
If the Rangers want to make it to the postseason and to have any chance of advancing, they will need Ogando to remain healthy and in the rotation. A postseason rotation of Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, Matt Garza and Ogando is good enough to get them back to the World Series for the third time in four years.