ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rangers manager Ron Washington refused to lament his club's situation Wednesday, still stuck behind Tampa Bay and Cleveland in the American League wild-card race.
He wants the fans to be excited, to enjoy these last five games.
Yes, if the season ended today, the Rangers would be out of the playoffs for the first time in four seasons.
But it's not over yet.
"It's fun, it's nerve-wracking, it's all of the above," Washington said. "No matter what, I'm proud of these guys for the way they have fought all year with all the adversity. They never complained.
"It's fun, it's nerve-wracking and your stomach gets in knots. But what doesn't get in knots is your focus. You have to do what you have to do. You've got to live with what's going on in front of us."
The Rangers may be victims of their own success when it comes to perception with their fans and some of those that opine about the club. One local columnist compared this week to a funeral procession.
National and local columnists and talk shows are already playing the blame game with the Rangers a game out of the second wild-card spot.
The Rangers are 7-15 in September and another final month fade could be happening in Arlington. Texas had a two-game lead in the AL West when September started and Oakland clinched its second consecutive division title on Sunday as the Rangers faltered.
Still, the Rangers could win their final five games -- all at home -- and make the playoffs. Maybe even make the World Series for a third time in four years.
“You look at every other city that has a chance of being in the playoffs now, and there’s joy,” Washington said. “I don’t see a whole lot of joy in Arlington. I’m not knocking anybody. I just don’t see it. All they can talk about is how we collapsed. That’s not right.”
Remember that Moreland hit a home run off the last left-handed starter the Rangers faced, Tampa Bay's Matt Moore, on Thursday in an 8-2 victory.
"My options are limited, so I put him in there," Washington said. "He may catch one. He is my best first baseman, so I'm going to take my chances and see what happens."
Wash trusts Frasor: There was still much discussion Wednesday about Washington opting for reliever Jason Frasor with runners at first and third and two outs in the bottom of the eighth with the Rangers clinging to a 3-2 lead over Houston and not closer Joe Nathan for a four-out save.
Washington trusts Frasor, and the veteran reliever came through for him after taking the loss Friday in Kansas City.
"Early on he was just having trouble getting going," Washington said. "But the more we've been able to get him the ball, the more in tune he has become with his stuff."
Frasor, who first starting warming up in the fourth inning with Yu Darvish struggling, entered the game four innings later.
"I've pitched in the fourth (inning) and the ninth in my career," Frasor said. "I was ready to go."
Short hops: The Rangers have won 86 games for a club-record five consecutive seasons. They had won 86-plus games just twice in franchise history before this winning run. ... Darvish has a major league-league leading 269 strikeouts, equaling the most in a single season since Randy Johnson had 290 Ks for Arizona in 2004. Justin Verlander also had 269 punchouts in 2009.