Rangers Clinch First Playoff Spot Since 2016

Rangers playoff spot
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Texas Rangers have clinched their playoff spot to put, hopefully, one of several exclamation points on their spectacular 2023 season. With a 6-1 win over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday, the Rangers secured their first postseason berth since 2016. This could have happened earlier, but the Mariners won the first two games of the series to delay the matter for the Rangers. It marked the first winning season for the Rangers since 2016 as well. Sunday afternoon’s season finale against the Mariners will determine who claims the AL West title.

Last-Minute Finish

Though the Rangers have secured a playoff berth, the fate of the AL West still hangs in the balance. The Houston Astros beat the Arizona Diamondbacks Saturday night, 1-0, and remain one game behind the Rangers. The Astros have the tiebreaker by virtue of winning the season series, nine games to four. Still, the Rangers have the lead, so either a Rangers win or Astros loss gives the Rangers the division, title while Houston needs to win and the Rangers to lose.

Winning the division would be a thrill for everyone in in the city of Arlington. It wouldn’t just be due to the difference in how “division champ” sounds as opposed to “wild card.” Whoever wins the AL West will get the No. 2 seed in the American League, which means the chance to rest until Saturday, skip the Wild Card Series, and play the first two ALDS games — and possibly Game 5 — at home.

Quite a Difference

The Rangers worked hard to secure this playoff spot. They followed up one of their worst seasons ever with the mega-signings of middle infielders Corey Seager and Marcus Semien the following offseason. Still, general manager Chris Young urged everybody at the time to not get too eager. It would not be a single-year fix. The Rangers wouldn’t go from 100 losses to 100 wins in one winter. As it turned out, it took two years and another offseason spending spree — not to mention a new manager in the formerly retired Bruce Bochy — to get to 90 wins and a return to the postseason. We’ll see what happens on Sunday afternoon at T-Mobile Park. In the regular season finale, right-hander George Kirby (12–10, 3.46 ERA) will get the ball for the Mariners. The Rangers will counter with righty Dane Dunning (12–6, 3.72 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 2:10 pm Central.

 

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Nate Miller

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