KANSAS CITY -- The Rangers found themselves in an unusual position when they arrived at Kauffman Stadium on Saturday. For the first time since September 2009, they were not in a position to make the playoffs either by leading their division or having one of two best records in the American League Wild Card standings.
The Rangers began the day in third place in the Wild Card standings, one game behind the Rays and a half-game behind the Indians. The Rangers and Indians were tied in the loss column, but the Rangers haven't been in this position since 2009.
"We still have nine games left," second baseman Ian Kinsler said. "If the season ended today, yeah, we wouldn't be in the playoffs, but we still have a lot of opportunity ahead of us and we'll try to take advantage of it.
"There are a lot of reasons why we're in the position we're in, but that's beside the point. Right now, the focus is on getting to the playoffs. Regardless of the problems on the team or the things we're doing really well, we have to find a way to play and get wins and have a chance to get to the World Series."
The Rangers led the AL West by three games on Aug. 29 but went into Saturday's games having lost 15 of their last 20 games. That knocked them out of the lead in the West and they were 7 1/2 games behind the Athletics going into Saturday's action.
Right now, the Rangers are just trying to finish as one of two Wild Card teams. But they were only two games ahead of the Royals and Orioles, as well, when play began Saturday.
"As long as there are games on the schedule, we have a chance," manager Ron Washington said. "We just have to go out and get it done. I expect to be there."
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.