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MLB Standings: Rangers Need Strong Final Stretch

With the American League's best record, the Texas Rangers are still in very good shape to make a postseason appearance with less than 20 games of regular season play left. However, they are far from locked in for the AL West pennant, as the Oakland A's own the AL's second best record and are just three games behind the Rangers.

While a loss on Thursday to the Indians was less than ideal for the Rangers, they did not lose any of their lead over Oakland as the Angels were able to slow them with a 6-0 win on Thursday night. However, where Texas did lose some ground was in the wild card race.

The wild card is not a top priority for the Rangers right now as they hold a three-game lead for a division pennant; however, with just 7.5 games separating them from the Angels, a team that is third in the wild card standings and currently out of the playoff picture, a late season collapse could have the Rangers on the outside looking in.

Beginning Friday, every Rangers game for the rest of the season will be played against an AL West opponent, including two three-game series against the Angels and a four-game series against the A's that will all have huge playoff ramifications.

Head over to Lone Star Ball and SB Nation Dallas for more on the Rangers. For the Seattle perspective, check out Lookout Landing. Baseball Nation is your source for news and analysis around Major League Baseball.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.