By John Hickey
Sunday, September 15th, 2013 at 3:10 pm in 2013 regular season.
Adam Rosales and Travis Blackley have been here before.
Staring up at first place from way too far behind in second place.
Only now the former member of the A’s are with the Rangers. Last year they were both with Oakland when the A’s ran down Texas in the final two weeks of the season.
The A’s were streaking then, and they had two series with the Rangers, so they could make up ground just by winning. But Sunday was the last meeting of the regular season for the two teams, and this year the second-place team will have to do it on its own.
“Last year we had the Tigers and the Yankees (in the last 2½ weeks in Oakland),’’ Rosales said Sunday in the Rangers’ clubhouse. “We’re going to have to do it this year with the Rays and the Royals.’’
Those are the next two teams on the Rangers’ schedule, and they are also two of the competitors with Texas for the American League’s Wild Card berths.
Coming into Sunday, the Rays and the Rangers were tied for the Wild Card lead and the Indians, Yankees, Orioles and Royals were all within 3½ games.
“The shoe’s on the other foot now, eh?’’ Blackley said. The left-handed starter won two of the biggest Oakland games of 2012, both against Texas and both by 3-1 scores. He beat them in Arlington on July 1 when a loss would have turned a 13-game deficit in the American League West to 14 games.
The A’s had lost three straight to the Rangers at that point and another lost likely would have finished Oakland off. Instead the A’s went on a three-month winning spree.
The last of those regular-season games was the next-to-last game of the season when Blackley, facing the Rangers in Oakland this time, won to move the A’s into a first-place tie for the first time since the second game of the season.
Oakland would claim the title a day later with a 12-5 win.
“They (the A’s have turned it around,’’ Blackley said. “Now we’re going to see if we can do here what happened in Oakland last year.’’