Rangers will be ready with title on the line

Rangers will be ready with title on the line

ARLINGTON -- A few weeks ago the Rangers adjusted their rotation in case they needed Cole Hamels to pitch on the final day of the season.

They need him.

Explaining possible tiebreakers for postseason

Hamels will be on the mound on Sunday when the Rangers face the Angels in their final attempt to clinch the American League West. The Rangers were hoping to scratch Hamels from the start so he could pitch Game 1 of the Division Series. That plan was thrown out when the Rangers lost to the Angels on Saturday and the Astros beat the D-backs.

The Rangers now have a one-game lead in the AL West going into the final game of the season. The division title is on the line, so Hamels will be on the mound.

"I feel like we're in a good position," manager Jeff Banister said. "That's why we set it up the way we did. We knew this would be a tough series. This is a situation where we have our front-of-the-rotation guy going for us in a big game."

The Rangers clinch with a win over the Angels or if the Astros lose on Sunday. But if the Rangers lose on Sunday and the Astros beat the D-backs, the two teams will meet in a one-game tiebraker on Monday at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Yovani Gallardo would likely start that game for the Rangers.

The winner advances to postseason as the AL West champions and would open up the Division Series on Thursday against either the Blue Jays or the Royals. The loser would have to fly to New York to play the Yankees in the Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser on Tuesday.

The Rangers were hoping to wrap it up before Sunday so they could save Hamels for the first game of the division series on Thursday. He would still be able to pitch Game 2 on Friday and Game 5 if needed also on four days rest.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.