In the American League wild card race, conventional wisdom and consensus number-crunching have pointed to the same conclusion: The West's second-place team -- the A's or Rangers -- will claim one bid. The Rays, Orioles, Indians and Yankees should decide the other.
After watching the Rangers' 5-4 loss to Pittsburgh Tuesday night, I'm not so sure. Unless Texas halts a second consecutive September somersault, both wild cards will be in play.
Reason says the Rangers will be fine. They entered Tuesday with a 91.1 percent chance of reaching the postseason, according to the most recent Baseball Prospectus odds. Even now, they are four games clear of Baltimore and Cleveland for a playoff spot.
But Texas is only 2-7 this month, with a lineup that barely resembles the version that carried the team to pennants in 2010 and 2011. The Rangers have since remade themselves into an organization more reliant on pitching. It's a noble objective, one the San Francisco Giants have validated with cham...