I'm not getting jittery just yet, but the Texas Rangers are sure starting to rattle my nerves a bit.
The Rangers are 3 1/2 games ahead of the Oakland A's after a 6-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. Depending on the outcome of Oakland's matchup against the Los Angeles-Anaheim Angels on Sept. 10 that lead can increase to four or drop to three.
If Texas was to create more distance between its top spot and second place, it will be over the next seven days.
Starting Sept. 11, the Rangers will host the Cleveland Indians and then the Seattle Mariners. Combined, the clubs have a 126-155 record. Neither series should be considered "gimmes," but they are definitely ones in which Texas should win.
They A's host a four-game series against the Angels and then hit the road for a series against the hot Baltimore Orioles. The Angels won three of four against Oakland last week. After the A's, LAA has a favorable matchup on the road against the Kansas City Royals.
Texas has played solid ball since the All-Star break, but the Rangers haven't been able create much separation in the AL West. A lot of people thought it would come down to Texas and LAA, which it very well could, but not many had Oakland in the mix this late in the season.
If ever there was a time for the Rangers to put themselves in better position, it's now. After the series with the Indians, Texas finishes with two series against each AL West opponent. The final is a three-game stint against the Oakland A's.
This one is going to go down to the wire. Now it's time to finish.
John Ingle is a graduate of the Midwestern State University Mass Communication program with an emphasis in journalism. He's been a Texas Rangers fan when he met Bump Wills and Buddy Bell when he was in elementary school in Arlington, Texas. Follow him on Twitter @inglejohn1973.