Published November 20, 2014
A victory tonight by the Texas Rangers would be significant for a number of reasons.
It would lock up home-field advantage for the American League West champions in the division series.
Texas is also on the brink of setting a single-season record for the most victories in team history, a feat it will try to pull off in the finale of a three-game series with the rival Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
The Rangers won for the fifth straight time on Tuesday night, with the 10-3 victory also giving them a win in 13 of their past 15 games. It also kept them one game ahead of the Tigers for the AL's second seed, which will play host to the wild-card winner, either Tampa Bay or Boston.
Texas would clinch that spot with a win tonight or a loss by Detroit to Cleveland. The Tigers own the tiebreaker over the Rangers after winning the season series between the clubs.
Five home runs helped guide Texas last night, with Mike Napoli hitting a pair against his former club. Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz also homered, while Adrian Beltre went deep for a fourth straight game. Beltre has 32 homers on the season, including seven in his last nine games.
Kinsler, meanwhile, added a stolen base last night in addition to his 31st homer, giving him his second career 30/30 season
"We've been playing good baseball all year, especially down the stretch," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We know if we win tomorrow, our next game will be in Texas."
Texas' 95 wins matches the 1999 club for the most in team history and Matt Harrison can hurl his club to a new high with a fifth straight winning start tonight.
The left-hander hasn't lost since Aug. 24 and has pitched to a 2.92 earned run average over his win streak. He is coming off back-to-back wins over Seattle in which he allowed three runs over 12 2/3 innings. Harrison's victory over the Mariners on Friday clinched the Rangers' second straight division title.
The 26-year-old is 14-9 with a 3.46 ERA this year and 2-2 with a 5.04 ERA in eight lifetime meetings with the Angels, including three starts. He lost his only outing against them this year.
Tyler Chatwood was a replacement starter for Ervin Santana last night and the Angels hurler was lifted after just 2 2/3 innings as he gave up four runs and seven hits.
Los Angeles, which has lost three straight and five of six, turns to another spot starter tonight in right-hander Garrett Richards, who hasn't started a game since Aug. 15 versus Texas.
Richards only lasted two-thirds of an inning on that day because of a strained groin muscle in what was his second career start. The 23-year-old has pitched in relief four times since, giving him an 0-2 mark and 8.00 ERA in his six career appearances.
Texas is 11-7 versus Los Angeles this season.