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 (37-22) — The A's machine just keeps rolling and has now won five straight and will go for six in a row and a road sweep of the Yankees on Thursday afternoon. Josh Donaldson is proving to be one of the best players in baseball, and Sean Doolittle has solidified himself as the A's closer after the season got off to a rocky start in that department. Next up: Today, 12:05 p.m., at New York Yankees.
2. Los Angeles Angels (31-27) — The Angels were already playing well, and now they get Josh Hamilton back after he missed nearly two months with a thumb injury. If he can get back to where he was before the injury (hot as hell over the first week of the season), it's going to be a big boost to an already good team. Next up: Today, 6:10 p.m., at Houston Astros.
3. Seattle Mariners (31-28) — Much to the Rangers' chagrin, the Mariners are hot and are winners of five straight games, pulling back into third place in the division and just a half-game out of second place. Good news for the Mariners, too, they'll see the season debut of their prized pitching prospect Taijuan Walker on the next turn through the rotation. If he's as advertised, then look out. Next up: Friday, 6:10 p.m., at Tampa Bay Rays.
4. Texas Rangers (29-30) — The Rangers returned home from a successful season-long 11-game road trip, and like clockwork, one of the worst home teams in baseball started losing again. They're now eight games out of first place, which matches a season-high, and are also back below .500 after briefly pulling above the even mark. Next up: Today, 7:05 p.m., vs. Baltimore Orioles.
5. Houston Astros (25-35) — The laughable Astros aren't so laughable lately. In fact, they're 7-3 in their last 10 games and called up another power-hitting prospect in Jonathan Singleton on Tuesday to join fellow power-hitting prospect George Springer, who's been on a tear since his promotion. All Singleton did was homer in his big-league debut. Astros fans actually have a lot to be excited about right now. Next up: Today, 6:10 p.m., vs. Los Angeles Angels.