The Texas Rangers went 4-2 last week, winning series against Boston and Detroit. They now have the best record (67-46) in the American League, and a 6 1/2-game lead over Oakland and an eight-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels with 49 games left.
If the Rangers go 25-24 the rest of the way, the Angels would have to go 32-15 to tie them. The A's, meanwhile, would have to go 31-17.
Here's a look back on the week that was, and a look ahead for the week that will be.
Aug. 6-8 at Boston: The Rangers dropped the series opener as Aaron Cook out-pitched Yu Darvish. But the Rangers bounced back in Game 2 behind Ryan Dempster, who allowed three unearned runs over six innings. And, on Wednesday, they overcame a shaky outing by Matt Harrison, who was fighting a stomach virus, and a late Red Sox rally for a 10-9 victory.
Aug. 10-12 vs. Detroit: Texas returned home for a brief three-game homestand against Detroit, which is in a dogfight with the Chicago White Sox for the top spot in the American League Central. The Tigers took the opener after Prince Fielder took advantage of a mistake pitch by Scott Feldman. But Derek Holland pitched well enough and Mike Olt came through with a walk-off single Saturday as the Rangers won a game in which Justin Verlander started for the Tigers. And, on Sunday, Yu Darvish showed signs of getting back on track in leading Texas to an 8-3 victory.
The week ahead
Today-Thursday at New York: The Rangers begin a seven-game road trip with a four-game set against the Yankees. CC Sabathia was scheduled to start today, but has been placed on the disabled list. New York is going with David Phelps, who has pitched primarily out of the bullpen, against Texas' Ryan Dempster. Matt Harrison has recovered from the stomach virus and will start Tuesday followed by Scott Feldman and Derek Holland. The Rangers won the first series meeting against the Yankees in April in Arlington, going 2-1.
Friday-Sunday at Toronto: The AstroTurf at the Rogers Centre has never been kind to the Rangers, as Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre were limited in action when the Rangers made their first trip across the border April 30-May 2, losing the final two games. The Rangers are in the stretch run now, though, so it will be difficult to rest their players.
-- Drew Davison