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 (20-15) — The A's aren't exactly setting the world on fire. In fact, in their past 10 games, they are doing nothing but treading water at .500, and they're actually below .500 in their dump of a home stadium. But the A's are playing the best baseball in the division. But they did see a fairly comfortable lead evaporate this week while struggling against the Mariners, who have pulled to within two games of the A's. Next up: Friday, 9:05 p.m., vs. Washington Nationals.
2. Seattle Mariners (17-16) — We've been saying it all year, if the Mariners get an offense going they could be dangerous. They retooled their roster to better support their solid pitching staff, and now we're starting to see it after a hot start followed by a lull. Now, the Mariners are 8-2 in their last 10 games. All of this and the Mariners' two hot, young pitching prospects, Taijuan Walker and James Paxton, are still waiting to make their season debuts. So look out. Next up: Today, 9:10 p.m., vs. Kansas City Royals.
3. Texas Rangers (17-17) — For the first time since May 2011, the Rangers are at or below .500 past April after dropping three straight games to the red-hot Colorado Rockies. They've now won just two of their last 10 games. The pitching staff is in a bad way, and the offense is worse. And worse yet, they still have another game against the Rockies before the Boston Red Sox come to town. This could get worse before it gets better. Next up: Today, 7:05 p.m., vs. Colorado Rockies.
4. Los Angeles Angels (16-17) — The Angels were on a hot streak, then they met the Rangers over the weekend. Despite being in a slump, the Rangers continued their domination of the Angels by winning two of three in Anaheim. Since then, the Angels have met up with the AL East-leading Yankees and have now dropped two straight. Hey, at least that Albert Pujols contract is producing again. Next up: Friday, 6:07 p.m., at Toronto Blue Jays.
5. Houston Astros (10-24) — There is one pitching staff in the American League worse than the Rangers', and it's these guys, who sport the worst pitching staff in all of baseball. Every now and then, this bunch will do something to make you think they have started to turn the corner (split a four-game series against Oakland) but then they'll haul off and lose five straight games (like they have now). Next up: Today, 12:08 p.m., at Detroit Tigers.