Los Angeles Angels' Albert Pujols watches his two-run home run against the Toronto Blue Jays during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Sunday, May 6, 2012. This was Pujols' first home run of the season. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
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. Oakland Athletics (5-3) — The A's bullpen is in shambles, their starting rotation is OK and their offense is about the same. So far, they haven't yet capitalized on an opportunity to put a little separation between themselves and the rest of the division. They dropped three games at home, but are 2-0 on the road, so far. Next up: Today, 12:10 p.m., at Minnesota Twins.
2. Seattle Mariners (5-3) — As expected here, the pitching staff has been great and the bats have been less than that. The Mariners are going to be improved this season, that's not really up for debate. How much better is the big question. So far, they've shown they're going to be a team to be reckoned with and they head to Arlington for four games next week. Once Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker join forces with Felix Hernandez in the rotation, look out. Next up: Friday, 9:10 p.m., vs. Oakland Athletics.
3. Los Angeles Angels (4-5) — Things got bad for the Angels this week as they lost Josh Hamilton for 6-8 weeks after a torrid start from the former Rangers slugger and AL MVP. Their bullpen is still a mess, as always with Ernesto Frieri working in the back of it, and their rotation is full of questions despite a good start from C.J. Wilson. Hamilton's absence is going to hurt the lineup, but they do still have Albert Pujols and a youngster named Mike Trout. Next up: Friday, 9:05 p.m., vs. New York Mets.
4. Texas Rangers (4-5) — Going 2-4 on their six-game road trip to AL East contenders Tampa Bay and Boston was not anything to freak out about. They avoided being swept by either team, and were a couple of blown leads away from coming home 4-2 on the road trip. Now, the Rangers get the AL West whipping boys to start a nice little win streak and a 10-game homestand. Next up: Friday, 7:05 p.m., vs. Houston Astros.
5. Houston Astros (3-6) — Since winning their first two games of the season against the Yankees, things have gone downhill in a hurry for the Astros, as they're a loss Thursday away from being swept on the road in a four-game set by the Blue Jays. They'll be looking to reverse the trend of last year against the Rangers, but it's not going to be easy. Next up: Today, 6:07 p.m., at Toronto Blue Jays.