In a weekly segment, we'll take a look around the AL West — what's happened so far, and what's on tap in the coming days.
1. Texas Rangers (70-51) — The Rangers swept the Astros in a four-game set on the road over the weekend. Not too impressive? Well consider what the A's have done this week, which is lose two straight to Houston with a chance of getting swept by the worst team in baseball on Thursday. Because of that, the Rangers now hold a two-game lead in the division, their biggest lead since early June. The Rangers' bullpen looks rejuvenated thanks to some deep outings from their starting pitchers, and this thing is rolling, winning nine of their last 10 games. Next up: Friday, 7:05 p.m., vs. Seattle Mariners.
2. Oakland Athletics (67-52) — The A's had a minor offensive outburst against Toronto over the weekend after being in the offensive doldrums for a while. Now, that funk is back, and it's music to the ears of the Rangers. Say what you want about Houston, but they have some pitching, and it's giving the A's fits right now. The A's have now won just four of their last 10 games and could be swept by Houston on Thursday afternoon. Next up: Thursday, 2:35 p.m., vs. Houston Astros.
3. Seattle Mariners (55-64) — Fourteen games out of the division race, the Mariners are just playing for pride now. But make no mistake, this team is no pushover, and the Rangers will see why this weekend when the Mariners roll out two of the top pitchers in the league on back-to-back nights. They're .500 over their last 10 games and could give the Rangers some trouble over the weekend. Next up: Thursday, 6:10 p.m., at Tampa Bay Rays.
4. Los Angeles Angels (53-66) — The Angels' pitchers have just gotten absolutely demolished by the Yankees in the past two games, namely Alfonso Soriano, who has four home runs and 13 RBIs over his last two games. That's a solid month for a lot of guys, and a great week for the game's top players. This team has just seemingly mailed it in — a shame for a guy like Mike Trout, but awesome for Rangers fans. Next up: Thursday, 12:05 p.m., at New York Yankees.
5. Houston Astros (39-80) — Let this sink in, in their last 48 games, the Los Angeles Dodgers have more wins than the Astros have all season. If this team somehow doesn't lose 100 games, it'd be considered a victory. Yet, they're one win away from sweeping the A's in Oakland. Go figure. Next up: Today, 2:35 p.m., at Oakland Athletics.