Tonight marks the first game of what will essentially be a 7-game series between the Oakland A’s and Texas Rangers. If the A’s hope for a chance at stealing the division from the Rangers, they will need to win one game in Arlington. If they hope to have a serious chance, they’ll need to win all four–of course sweeping the Rangers at home is something of a pipe dream.

The last team to do so: the Baltimore Orioles in 2010.

Gm# Date Tm Opp R RA Inn Win Loss Save
85 Thursday, Jul 8 TEX BAL L 4 6 Hernandez Francisco Simon
86 Friday, Jul 9 TEX BAL L 6 7 10 Berken Nippert Simon
87 Saturday, Jul 10 TEX BAL L 1 6 Tillman Lee
88 Sunday, Jul 11 TEX BAL L 1 4 Arrieta Wilson Simon

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/24/2012.

The last time the A’s did it was in 2009.

The A’s and Rangers have split 12 head-to-head matchups thus far this season–each team is 4-2 at home. But, even if the A’s do accomplish the near-impossible and sweep the Rangers, they’ll still face a difficult road to win the division.

Given that I, like Grant Brisbee of McCovey Chronicles, am horrible at math (I usually rely on Google for even the simplest of math problems), I have put together are chart which provides all scenarios necessary for the A’s to tie–or win, as noted–the division. In short, the A’s need to go 10-0 or 9-1 to have a truly legitimate shot.

The A’s best–and only–chance to make the playoffs is via the Wild Card. Barring any meltdowns, the A’s should easily win one of the two Wild Card spots.

The Good

The good news for the A’s is that Josh Hamilton may not be available for the Rangers. Hamilton missed the Rangers’ last series due to a sinus problem that affected his vision. When asked about his availability, manager Ron Washington said, “He may be available. He may not. I don’t know.”

The Bad

The A’s will make this final playoff push without yet another veteran starter. Brett Anderson will miss the rest of the regular season with an oblique strain suffered on Sept 19.

Coco Crisp’s status is still uncertain, though manager Bob Melvin hopes Crisp will be available for the start of the Rangers series. The A’s have won only two of the last six games without Crisp.