While the Rangers cling onto their wild card hopes like Jack Dawson clung to that drifting piece of furniture in the frigid Atlantic in Titanic, it’s worth noting that the second wild card has historically been a team that has had a pretty good season. This year’s Race of Mediocrity in the America League is an aberration. It’s not supposed to be a participation trophy handed out just for showing up. It’s not supposed to be a reward for a season of .500.
On the contrary, in the five years that a second wild card has been in existence, the average win total for that second wild card is 89.6 in the American League, and an even 90 in the National League. The 2015 Cubs won 97 games and got the second wild card.
It was meant to reward good teams that just happen to be in tough divisions. Well, actually, it was meant to generate another round of TV revenue, first and foremost, but under the guise of inclusion.
Texas, Tampa Bay, Kansas City and Seattle are all under the false impression that they still have life after the regular season. Maybe they will. Maybe one of them will have two good weeks to close out the season, after muddling through 24 average weeks. Maybe that’s all it will take, a lame three-game winning streak.
But the Yankees and Twins have had a stranglehold on those two spots for six weeks, and neither seems to be willing to let go. The Angels are poking around in case the Twins falter. The rest of the teams are bottom feeder fish in an aquarium. They haven’t quite turned on their side yet.
At the current pace Minnesota is playing, they would finish the season with 84 wins. The lowest win total of any second wild card team was 86 from the 2016 Houston Astros. In the NL, it’s the 87 wins last year’s Giants put up.
The second wild card hasn’t been a consolation prize historically. There’s no reason to think it will be this season. The integrity of the game deserves better treatment than that.
Miguel Gonzalez (7-10, 4.31) vs. Luis Gohara (0-0, 0.00)
Game time: 6:35
The Rangers have never faced Gohara.
How the Braves hit against Gonzalez.