MLB playoff race: Texas Rangers maintain AL West lead with one week left in regular season

After beating Seattle 9-8 at Globe Field on Sunday, the Texas Rangers are hitting the road for a final seven-game road trip. And their playoff destiny is completely in their hands.

The Rangers completed a successful six-game homestand to retake sole possession of the American League West lead with games in Anaheim and Seattle on the horizon.

The Texas Rangers (87-68) have a 1.5-game lead over the Houston Astros (85-71) for first place in the AL West with the Seattle Mariners (84-71) in third place. The Toronto Blue Jays (87-69) are in second place in the AL Wild Card standings and lead the Astros by two games.

The Rangers swept their weekend series with the Mariners to continue their domination against Seattle. The Rangers are 8-1 against the Mariners this season and have outscored Seattle 55-31 in nine games.

The Rangers hammered the Mariners in the series finale on Sunday hitting a season-high six home runs in the victory.

Despite the series win, the Rangers bullpen remains an issue. The unit gave up three runs in relief of Nathan Eovaldi. The Rangers bullpen has the sixth-worst ERA in the Majors (4.86) and has blown 32 saves this season.

“Certain areas has been a challenge, the bullpen, trying to get things in order. Mike [Maddux] and I have talked a lot about it,” said Texas Rangers manager Bruce Bochy.

The Rangers have won five games in a row continuing an up-and-down trend in the last 19 games that has seen the Rangers lose four in a row twice coupled with win streaks of six and five games.

Bochy spoke before the game saying the streakiness of the Rangers hasn’t changed his approach as manager.

“These guys have been streaky on both ends, but they’re such a good group and just love the way they come out every day, believing, you know, they’re gonna get on another streak and win another ball game,” said Bochy.

The Rangers’ four-game winning streak comes at just the right time as the Astros have floundered down the stretch.

Houston has only won three out of their last 12 games despite playing a combined three series against the Oakland Athletics and the Kansas City Royals both of whom have lost more than 100 games this season.

The Mariners have also struggled with consistency over the last three series getting swept by the Rangers and the Los Angeles Dodgers but sweeping the Athletics.