In the last week, the A's have gone 3-3. They won two of three in Tampa and lost two of three in Minnesota. Meanwhile, the Angels have gone 4-3. They took two of three from Toronto and lost two of three to the White Sox (both series in Anaheim) before winning the first game of a four-game series against the Rangers (in Arlington) last night.
So, the magic number has gone from 18 to 12. The A's need a combination of wins and Angels' losses adding up to twelve in order to clinch the division.
The two teams play each other seven times in these last 2+ weeks of the seasons. A mid-case scenario (neither best- nor worst-case), would have the A's winning just 3 of those 7 critical games. Those three victories alone would drop the A's magic number to 6. Let's say, conservatively, that the A's only win 3 of their 10 remaining non-Angels games. That drops the magic number to 3, and leaves the Angels without a whole lot of wiggle room. Assuming everything plays out in that exact scenario, the Angels would have to go 6-2 against the Rangers and Royals to take the division.
As I was writing this, I was hoping that the case for the Angels would be miserably bleak, but 6-2 against the Rangers and Royals is not so unreasonable. I guess I can take solace in this: the A's control their own destiny. If the A's play any better than 6-11 over their last seventeen games, they're pretty much in.