BALTIMORE -- Since the Angels lost two of three to the Rangers in late August, dropping them three games behind Texas in the American League West, the remaining schedule set up to give the Angels a chance to hang around in the division.
They have, but other than the Blue Jays, who welcome the Angels for a four-game series starting Monday and are hovering around .500, the only team with a winning record that was left on the Angels' schedule before a potentially huge season-ending series against the Rangers was the AL-leading Yankees.
But the Angels haven't taken advantage of a favorable schedule, going just 9-6 so far in September, heading into Sunday afternoon's game against the Orioles.
"There's nobody from our side that ever looks at standings or teams you should beat or that kind of chatter," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "That's a distraction. The margin for teams over .500 and teams under .500 is not that great. You're gonna have every team, every night, gonna put a pitcher out there that does have the capability of shutting you down, and there's every lineup in the league that has the capability to score runs and win."
The Angels are 2-4 in their last six games and have dropped two in a row to the last-place Orioles, whose pitching staff is the worst in baseball. But the Angels have managed just one run over 14 innings against Baltimore's starters.
Before Sunday's game, they trailed the Rangers by 4 1/2 games and trail the Red Sox by five games for the Wild Card.
The Angels are 45-34 against American League teams with sub-.500 records but just 26-25 against division opponents. To put that in perspective, the Rangers are 49-22 against teams under .500 and 31-16 in the division.
That's a big reason why the Rangers have a 4 1/2 game cushion over the Angels in the AL West.