The Angels are currently 2 games behind the Rangers for first place in the AL West, and 6 1/2 games behind the Yankees for the Wild Card; meaning Texas is still within striking distance of the Yanks should they not win the West. Of course, New York still has a chance to catch Boston for the AL East title. There are plenty of head-to-head match-ups between these teams, as well as a way for the guys we love to hate to help us. Here is a rundown of the most important series down the stretch.
The cliche "keep winning series and beat the teams ahead of you" applies to the Angels schedule the rest of the way. Obviously, winning the division is the most probable path to the playoffs, but the Wild Card is not out of reach when you look at the schedule. With a total of 16 games between them and the teams they are chasing, the Halos have multiple opportunities to play their way into the postseason. The season essentially comes down to these series:
10 games against Texas (vs 8/15-18, @ 8/26-28, vs. 9/26-28) and six against NYY (@8/9-11, vs. 9/9-11).
The team the Angels are chasing can close out the division by taking the above series. Winning 5 or more of the 7 August games could make September a moot point However, should Texas lose the division lead to the Angels, they do not have any games against the Yankees and can not help themselves in that Wild Card race. They could have a say over whether Boston, does in fact win that division, however as they have 7 games remaining with the chowds. Thier big dates:
0 games against Yankees, 7 against Red Sox (vs. 8/22-25, @ 9/2-4), and the 10 games against the Angels.
ESPN's wet dream of an AL East fight to the finish might come true again. Who knew $400 million could give teams a clear edge over the competition? The Yanks can either beat Boston head-to-head for the division or knock the Halos down and out of playoff contention all together. The dates to circle on the NYY calendar:
6 against Angels (vs. 8/9-11, @ 9/9-11), 0 against Rangers, 9 against Red Sox (@8/5-7, @ 8/29-91, vs. 9/23-25)
The team we love to hate, the Red Sux could have a profound influence on everybody's postseason chances; especially the Angels. We are done playing our nemesis, but the Rangers (7) and Yankees (9) have a combined 16 games against them. I will never, under any circumstances root for them, but if they have to win (and are heading to October anyway) here are the series that could help us:
vs. Yankees 8/5-7, @ Rangers 8/22-25, vs. Yankees 8/29-91, vs. Rangers 9/2-4, @ Yankees 9/23-25.
Both the Angels and the Rangers want to win the West and hang another banner. The Yankees only care about October and will take the Wild Card if it gets them there, but would prefer the division title. The Sox would love to knock the Yankees out of the playoffs and have the inside track on a spot. The series above will determine who gets their wish, and who goes home.