Originally edited & published at Central Track.

In spite of its local popularity, I have never been a fan of the number Thirteen. The thought of that number has always given me a feeling of misery, and yesterday’s loss by the Texas Rangers only adds to that. Thirteen is the number of games from behind the Moneyballing Oakland A’s came from to overtake the Rangers and win the American League West division. It was a sore sight to watch, and not one Texas fans are eager to call the biggest story in baseball right now. But it is. ESPN recently noted that not one of their 100 analysts picked the A’s to even make the playoffs, and with a team full of average misfits I wouldn’t have either.

Thirteen is also the number of strikeouts Zach Greinke pitched against Seattle last week, and he was the first pitcher to do so in five innings or less since 1920. It’s too bad that wasn’t him up on the mound yesterday rather than Ryan Dempster, who couldn’t make it past three innings and looked just terrible.

Thirteen, a history lesson. The number worn by the best shortstop in baseball during the 1970s, a number retired by the Cincinnati Reds, the same Cincinnati Reds who were never projected to win more than 88 games, but look to be going much further into the postseason than Your Texas Rangers, a team built by the most American of Standards, a team built to Win It All.

Yet they play a game tomorrow in Arlington that could be it: Win or Go Home. With the new playoff format, the one-game Wild Card match against the Baltimore Orioles serves as a tiebreaker, and it could be the last game we ever see Josh Hamilton play in a Rangers’ uniform. Will it be Good Josh or Bad Josh? My bet is that he shows up in a big way, and that Texas welcomes New York on Sunday for the ALDS.

Here are six points worth noting going into tomorrow’s game:

• The Rangers’ hottest hitter in the last seven days is Adrian Beltre (.321), who continued to do his part in helping the Rangers to what should have been their third straight division title by hitting .426 in the last seven days with 12 hits and 17 total bases. Baltimore’s hot bat, by comparison, is Chris Davis – the lefty out of Longview has five home runs in the past week, and is batting .270 for the season.

• The Rangers starting pitcher on Friday will be Yu Darvish, who hasn’t lost a game in six starts since Aug. 17. Darvish was fourth in the league in strikeouts during the regular season, with 221 of them. The Orioles have yet to name their starter.

Both teams are reeling off of a miserable last game of the season: The O’s could have pushed it to a tiebreaker against New York with a win on Wednesday, and were neck-and-neck with the Yankees for first place in the AL East throughout most of September. The Rangers had sole possession of the AL West division lead from the 4th game of the season to the 161st.

Geovany Soto has been Darvish’s personal catcher since the pairing of the two has proved to be a winning one. But Mike Napolii has been playing extremely well since his return from injury, so it will be interesting to see who Wash will go with on Friday. One assumes Napoli would bat DH in the case that Soto catches, but with a bench full of good hitters, that might not be the case.

A snap shot of the Rangers and Orioles offenses gives the Rangers a statistical advantage: The Rangers have 808 R / .273 BA / .334 OBP / 446 SP against the O’s 712 R / .247 BA / .311 OBP / .417 SP.

• Here’s a fun fact: On August 22nd, 2007, the Texas Rangers lambasted the Orioles in a 30-3 win, scoring the most runs by a team in MLB history.