OAKLAND -- The Rangers' game vs. the Athletics on Wednesday marked only the third time since 1969 that two teams went into the final game of the regular season tied for first place and playing each other in a winner-take-all game.The Brewers beat the Orioles, 10-2, to win the American League East on the last day of the 1982 season, and the Padres beat the Dodgers, 2-0, in 11 innings, to win the National League West in 1996.
Other division titles have been decided by one-game play-ins, but only three have been decided by the last game of the regular season since baseball went to divisional play in 1969.Manager Ron Washington said he wasn't going to give any pregame speeches to his team. "Play ball," Washington said. "I talked to them last night, I don't have to talk to them again. At the start of the season, our goal was to win the division. At no time did we think about anything else. Now here we are."
Darvish to start Wild Card game vs. Orioles
OAKLAND -- Manager Ron Washington said Yu Darvish will be the Rangers' starter for the American League Wild Card game on Friday vs. the Orioles."When we play again, he'll be our pitcher," Washington said before the Rangers fell to the Athletics, 12-5, in Wednesday's de facto AL West championship game. Darvish, who threw in the bullpen before Wednesday's game, finished the regular season 16-9 with a 3.90 ERA in 29 starts and 191 1/3 innings pitched. He was fifth in the AL with 221 strikeouts and opponents hit .220 off him, the third lowest in the league. The right-hander last pitched on Sunday against the Angels, allowing three runs in 6 2/3 innings. Darvish left with a 4-3 lead before the Angels rallied to win in the ninth. After going 5-1 with a 2.35 ERA in his final eight starts, Darvish will now lead the Rangers' pitching staff into the playoffs. "I feel extremely good about it," Washington said. "I like the way he gone out and competed. The way he's competed from the beginning of the year until now. ... He's our big game pitcher." Matt Harrison, who pitched on Tuesday night against Oakland in a 3-1 loss, will be the No. 2 starter. That leaves Derek Holland and Ryan Dempster, but the Rangers haven't decided in what order they will pitch.
Adams hopes to resume throwing off mound soon
OAKLAND -- Mike Adams is back with the club, but the reliever is still unsure whether he will be ready to pitch in the first round of the playoffs. Adams said he is feeling much improvement with the pain in his neck and shoulder but is still unsure about the symptoms he is feeling from thoracic outlet syndrome.That's a condition where a rib bone presses against a nerve, causing pain and numbness in the arm. Adams said those symptoms have been more "pronounced" lately now that he understands what he is dealing with. Right now, Adams is limited to playing catch, and there is no word yet on when he will resume throwing off the mound. "Hopefully I can calm it down enough and have everything feel good enough so I can go out and throw," Adams said. "I don't know how good it is, but hopefully it will be good enough." Adams hasn't pitched since last Thursday against Oakland, when he gave up a career-high three home runs in one inning. "It will all be determined by how I feel and how I respond," Adams said. "I'm just hoping for the best. The worst thing now is having to sit. It's the worst thing in the world when there's no chance of getting in there and you don't know what's going on."
Washington opting to play it safe with Beltre
OAKLAND -- Adrian Beltre, who is dealing with a strained left shoulder, served as the designated hitter for the third straight day in Wednesday's regular-season finale. Michael Young started at third base for the Rangers.
Beltre hasn't played third base since Sunday, when he aggravated the shoulder trying to make a diving stop during a doubleheader against the Athletics.Manager Ron Washington said Beltre will be able to play third base during the playoffs. "I just wanted to give him another day and make sure he is fine," Washington said. "He took ground balls the other day and looked good. I just wanted to give him another day."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.