With the Rangers 5-0 win and the Mariners 8-3 loss, the Texas Rangers clinched a playoff spot.
They head into the last four games of the season up four games on third-place Seattle. But they own the tie breaker should they tie.
Which means, if the Rangers were to get swept in their upcoming four-game series at Seattle, they would in fact tie, and the Rangers would still be in.
Losing two of three to Houston means Seattle is now 1.5 games behind the Astros, who have three games to play, against Arizona. (Houston is off today.)
The Rangers and Astros are still very much in a dogfight for the division crown. The Rangers magic number is two, meaning any combination of two Rangers wins or two Astros losses and Texas wins the West.
Seattle basically needs a miracle to get in. They would need to win three out of four against Texas and hope Houston loses all three.
After six years of wandering aimlessly in the wilderness, the Texas Rangers are now playoff bound. The shackles of the Jon Daniels era are officially off.
So, what’s at stake these next four games is whether the Rangers get a first-round bye and then play a best-of-five series where they have home field advantage, which happens if they win the West. Or, they play a best-of-three series with all three games on the road, which happens if they end up being a wildcard.
The playoff picture is still too fuzzy to predict. The only way to make it clear is for the Rangers to win.