ARLINGTON, Texas — After waiting all day without getting to play, the Los Angeles Angels found themselves in a worst-case scenario.
The Angels lost ground in the chase for the American League’s second wild card even while their game at the AL West-leading Texas Rangers was rained out Saturday.
And with the postponed game rescheduled as part of a day-night doubleheader Sunday, the Angels pitching staff could be pushed to the limit. And they could still face an extra game later this week just to get into the postseason.
“You know what, we’re hanging around,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “I feel we’re lying in the weeds, and if we keep winning, I think we’re going to have an opportunity to get there.”
During the nearly four-hour delay before the game was finally postponed, Scioscia and his staff, and surely some of the players, kept an eye on Oakland’s home game against Seattle.
Oakland beat the Mariners 7-4 in 10 innings, hitting a tying two-run homer in the ninth before another long ball in the 10th. The A’s moved within 2½ games of the division lead, and 2½ games ahead of the Angels (87-70) for the second wild card spot.
“Obviously every time they win, it puts them closer to where they want to be, and the help we’re looking for hopefully will come at some point,” Scioscia said. “We’ve got five games. From some perspective it seems like it’s a blink of an eye. Another perspective, it seems like it’s a lifetime. … We have to put up wins, that’s what we need to do. Hopefully we’ll get the opportunity get our toe in the door.”
The magic number for the Rangers (92-65) to win their third consecutive division title remained at three. They assure themselves a playoff spot by winning one of the two games Sunday, before three games at Oakland to end the regular season.
Officials waited as long as possible trying to play Saturday, but steady rain persisted throughout the day. The game was called about 7 p.m. local time, when it was raining as hard as it had all day and the forecast was for rain to continue until after midnight.
The split doubleheader will be the first ever at Rangers Ballpark.
“I don’t like them,” manager Ron Washington said. “You’ve got to play it so you go play it. That’s it.”
They are the last home games of the regular season for Texas. Both are sold out.
Yu Darvish (16-9), set to start Sunday after missing his last game with neck stiffness, will start the opener for Texas. Saturday’s scheduled starter Derek Holland (11-6) will get the second game.
“I want to get (Darvish) out there as soon as we can,” Washington said.
The Angels will go with Zack Greinke (6-2), the scheduled starter Sunday, in the first game. Ervin Santana (9-12), who was supposed to pitch Saturday, will get the second game.
Washington said he was watching the weather, and not the A’s-Mariners game, during the delay. But he was aware of Oakland’s victory.
Texas is assured a playoff spot by winning one of the two games Sunday. The first game is schedule at 12:05 p.m. CT, with still a chance of more rain, and the second game is scheduled to start six hours later.
If the Angels wind up in a tie for the second wild card, they would be forced into a tiebreaker game Thursday just for the right to play the following day in the one-game wild card to determine who would advance to the AL division series.
There were overcast skies and some drizzle during Friday night’s game, but no issues or delays as Jered Weaver won his 20th game.
Weaver’s next scheduled start is the Angels’ regular-season finale Wednesday at Seattle. Greinke or Santana would be options to pitch on short rest Thursday, if necessary.
The Angels have won 10 of their last 14 games, and their 17-8 record is the AL’s best in September. They have won 12 of their last 16 road games to stay in the playoff chase.
Texas has lost three of its last four games.