In what is a weekly segment, let's take a look around the rest of the AL West, which includes your Texas Rangers back in first place after a recent reversal of fortune.
1. Texas Rangers (23-20) — After winning a series following almost a month without winning one, the Rangers have reached the top of the AL West again after winning five of their last seven games and ending a horrific skid that was brought on by a suicide cocktail of injuries all converging at once. The Rangers are finally starting to get healthy again as Nelson Cruz and Josh Hamilton are set to return any day with hopes of bringing life back to an often anemic offense. Colby Lewis has emerged as a go-to stopper in the rotation and Matt Harrison seems to have found what he lost for a few starts. Hunch? The Rangers are about to go on a tear and open up a decent lead in the race. By the time they play the Royals tonight, their division lead could be extended to 1.5 games.
2. Oakland A's (22-21) — After losing to the lowly Twins on Wednesday, the A's need to rebound today when the teams meet again. As always, their offense is often in slow motion aside from the big bat of Josh Willingham. The A's were getting excited about the return of starting pitcher Dallas Braden until he was declared out for the year last week. That had to be a blow to their confidence, not to mention the "wash out game" against the Rangers last week when Texas was dominant for 4 1/2 innings before all records and stats were wiped away by rain, including Gio Gonzalez getting shelled by Texas bats.
3. Los Angeles Angels (22-22) — Remember that slide the Rangers were on last week? Now the Angels are following suit and it's music to the Rangers' ears. They're 3-7 in their last 10, including a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Seattle on Wednesday. They also suffered a blow to their morale this week when Kendrys Morales was declared out for the season and has to have a second surgery on his broken leg that he suffered last year celebrating a walk-off grand slam.
4. Seattle Mariners (18-24) — After a bit of a hot streak (for the Mariners, anyway), Seattle is in the same 3-7 funk in their last 10 as the Angels are. Pitcher Jason Vargas, no not Felix Hernandez or Michael Pineda, pitched seven shutout innings, pushing his scoreless innings streak to 16 straight. Today, the Mariners will send Doug Fister to the mound against Dan Haren, which could spell trouble for the M's.