Angels lose ground while being rained out
Sunday brings doubleheader in Texas, possible elimination as A's keep winning
ARLINGTON -- As rain persistently fell on the big gray tarp that covered the infield at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Saturday, eventually causing a split doubleheader on Sunday, all the Angels could do for about eight hours was sit around and wait.
And watch, as Josh Donaldson hit a game-tying two-run homer in the ninth, eventually leading the Athletics to an extra-winning victory over the Mariners and pushing the Angels to 2 1/2 games back of the second American League Wild Card spot without even taking the field.
It was yet another blow for a team that only has five games left to make up ground.
"Obviously, every time they win, it puts them closer to where they want to be, and the help we're looking for hopefully will come at some point," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
"But we need to put up wins. That's what we need to do, and hopefully we're still going to get an opportunity to get our toe in the door."
To do that, the Angels will basically have to take both ends of Sunday's doubleheader, which will take place at 10:05 a.m. PT and 4:05 p.m., with both games airing on FOX Sports West.
Both managers flip-flopped their starters, keeping the pitching matchups the same. Zack Greinke will start against Yu Darvish in Game 1, and the two scheduled Saturday starters, Ervin Santana and lefty Derek Holland, will face off in Game 2.
"We'll see if Zack can get us some length in Game 1," Scioscia said, "and then we have a chance to have more pitchers that aren't going to have to throw in two games."
"It's Darvish's day to pitch," Rangers skipper Ron Washington added, "so we wanted to get him out there as soon as we can."
Both teams, fearing the damage a doubleheader can have on their pitching staffs heading into the final three games of the regular season next week, were willing to wait out the rain. But at 7 p.m. CT, almost four hours after the scheduled start time, showers grew more intense with no letup in sight, causing the umpiring crew to finally announce a postponement.
The Rangers, who can clinch the AL West title with a doubleheader sweep and an A's loss on Sunday, will finish with three in Oakland. The Angels finish the regular season with a three-game series in Seattle starting Monday.
Sunday's doubleheader will determine if those games even matter.
"We need to come out here and play two good games, and hopefully come out with wins," Scioscia said. "That's the bottom line. We're stretching some guys that have been used a lot and might have to ask them to just give a little more because you have the doubleheader, as opposed to where you'd be if you played tonight and then tomorrow."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.