The Los Angeles Angels are fighting for their playoff lives in Texas.


The Los Angeles Angels have been battling all season to earn a spot in the 2015 American League Playoffs.  With the end of the season near the Angels are playing a crucial series in Texas against the first place Rangers with a chance to earn the second AL Wildcard spot.  For the Los Angeles Angels to clinch a wildcard berth they will have to beat out Houston (who they trail by 1 game) and Minnesota (who they are tied with).  The mentality of the team was to go for it all and win the division by sweeping Texas, but with the loss Thursday night all they have left is a wild-card berth which still gives the Angels an opportunity to continue playing which would be a major accomplishment, especially after starting September a game under .500 at 65-66 seven games behind the Rangers and 4.5 games back of Houston.

The Los Angeles Angels have played outstanding baseball down the stretch finishing September with an 18-9 mark 2nd best in club history.  Coincidentally, their September record was identical to the mark the team had during September in 2002, and we all know how that ended.  However, do the Angels have enough left in the tank to finish off this weekend with three victories which would give them a good chance to catch the Astros and either forge a one game playoff for the second wild-card berth, or possibly win the spot outright depending on the play of the Astros and Twins.  In a crazy scenario the three teams could finish in a three-way tie for the final wildcard spot which would be unprecedented and cause a major snafu for the teams involved.

The Los Angeles Angels hope to beat out Houston again for wildcard spot. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Here is the scenario:  If the Angels finished tied with Houston there would be a one game playoff in Houston on Monday with the winner advancing to play in New York against the Yankees on either Tuesday or Wednesday.  If the Angels and Twins finished tied the Angels would host a one-game playoff on Monday in Anaheim, again with the winner travelling to New York to face the Yankees on Tuesday or Wednesday.  If the Twins and Astros tie, who cares.  We are Angels fans here so most of us could care less about the Twins and Astros.

Now if there is a three-way tie that is when things get tricky. The Angels by virtue of having the best record against the Astros and Twins combined would get the option to choose.  They could host Minnesota on Monday and if they won host Houston on Tuesday and then go play in New York on Wednesday.  While the Angels would get to play at home this would mean an extra game they would have to use pitchers for and with the bullpen hurting and two of the teams five starters not at full strength the Angels would most likely not opt for this option.  Option two would be for the Angels to watch the Twins play in Houston on Monday.  Whoever wins this game would host the Angels the next day at their home stadium with again the winner going on to New York to face the Yankees on Wednesday.  The best case scenario for the Angels is that they could leapfrog Houston and hold off the Twins and win the 2nd wildcard spot outright thus playing the Yankees in New York on Tuesday.  I myself as most Angels fans would love to see this happen as it would give the team the best chance to advance to the ALDS with the most rested pitching staff possible.

One interesting fact is that the Angels could use Mat Latos or any other pitcher on the roster in a wildcard tie-breaker game as it is considered a regular season game.  Maybe there is a method to Bill Stoneman and Mike Sciocia’s madness after all. It might be a risky proposition considering how Latos has pitched down the stretch for the Los Angeles Dodgers (0-3 with a 6.66 ERA in his last six starts with them).  However, Latos has been in the post-season before and most of the Astros and Twins have limited experience against Latos, who is a career National Leaguer.  Not only that it would save Garrett Richards or anyone else to pitch the actual wild-card game against the Yankees.  It may be a risky move, but one that could give the Los Angeles Angels the best chance to beat the Yankees.

So as I have been saying multiple times during this stretch run, ‘Fasten your seatbelt and hold on tight, It’s rally time.’ Stay Tuned….

Hopefully Mike Scioscia will be a happy camper after the Los Angeles Angels  season finale in Texas on Sunday. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports