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Beltre eyes strong stretch run in WC chase

MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have had their fun at Globe Life Park with a successful 10-game homestand. Now the pennant race intensifies, as the Rangers' remaining schedule is packed with head-to-head series against other clubs contending in the American League Wild Card race.

As of Monday morning, the Rangers will have 39 games left in the season, and 20 of them are against teams in the AL Wild Card hunt. The Rangers have 10 left with the Angels, seven against the Mariners and three against the Yankees. They open a four-game series with the Angels on Monday in Anaheim.

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ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have had their fun at Globe Life Park with a successful 10-game homestand. Now the pennant race intensifies, as the Rangers' remaining schedule is packed with head-to-head series against other clubs contending in the American League Wild Card race.

As of Monday morning, the Rangers will have 39 games left in the season, and 20 of them are against teams in the AL Wild Card hunt. The Rangers have 10 left with the Angels, seven against the Mariners and three against the Yankees. They open a four-game series with the Angels on Monday in Anaheim.

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"Every game for us is big," third baseman Adrian Beltre said. "We have about six weeks left and we're in the hunt for the Wild Card, but there's a lot of teams there. So we have to take advantage of every situation that we can. Obviously, the Angels are one of the teams in front of us. It would be more beneficial for us to at least win a series there."

The other 19 consist of 10 with the last-place Athletics, six against the first-place Astros and a three-game Interleague series against the Braves in Atlanta.

As of Sunday morning, the Yankees had a 3 1/2-game lead for the first AL Wild Card spot. The Twins and the Angels were tied for the second spot, but there were eight teams within four games of each other in the race for that spot. The Rangers were 1 1/2 games out of the second AL Wild Card entering Sunday's games.

"I don't know who to root for," Beltre said. "That's the weird thing. You don't know who to root for, but what we can do is just win on our side. Just win and see what happens at the end. Hopefully when we get to three weeks, two weeks left, we'll be the team on top of it."

Beltre admitted that he has been watching the scoreboard to see how everybody else is doing.

"Daily, we've been looking at the scoreboard," Beltre said. "But like I said, you can't know who to root for, because there's so many teams, you forget who's in front of you. You look at it just to look at it, but you don't really choose who you want to win because sometimes it's too difficult and confusing."

There is nothing confusing about the division race. The Astros went into Sunday with a 13-game lead over the Angels in the AL West with the Mariners 13 1/2 and the Rangers 14 1/2 games out.

"It's going to be difficult for anybody to catch Houston, but it's not mathematically out of reach," Beltre said. "It'll just be really difficult. I mean, it would be nice. It would be historical.

"A playoff spot is a playoff spot. It doesn't matter how you get there. Obviously if you want to choose, you'd rather choose to win the division and get in, but if it's not available you have to get the best thing. And for us, that's what it looks like. The Wild Card will be our chance, and we have to make a run for it."

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

Texas Rangers, Adrian Beltre