The Texas Rangers' stunning collapse has left them with little chance at a division title and forced them to focus on the wild card as their only avenue to the postseason.
That road may get a lot tougher heading into a visit to the other team holding a wild-card spot.
Opening a potentially vital four-game series at Tropicana Field on Monday night, the Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays attempt to improve their playoff chances while damaging the hopes of the other.
Texas (81-67) entered this month with a two-game lead over Oakland in the AL West, but a 2-11 slide has turned that into a 6 1/2-game deficit with 14 games remaining.
The Rangers' tailspin includes losing all six games of a homestand and never leading in any, including a three-game series sweep to the A's, capped by Sunday's 5-1 defeat.
Instead of tightening the division, Texas finds itself in a crowded wild-card race that has six teams separated by 3 1/2 games.
The Rangers and Rays (81-67) own the same record, but are just ...