Oakland's CoCo Crisp.
In what is a weekly segment, let's take a look around the rest of the AL West, which includes your Texas Rangers getting healthy at the right time fresh off three straight series wins.
1. Texas Rangers (30-26) — After falling out of first place a couple of weeks ago, the Rangers have been solid up top of the division and that was helped by a recent hot stretch that has seen them go 7-3 over their last 10 games and win three straight series over the White Sox, Royals and Rays, which marked the first time the Rangers have done that since the first three series of the season when they jumped out to a 9-1 start. The Rangers pitching has been phenomenal as of late in a very strong pitching division, already throwing six shutouts this season compared to eight in all of 2010. Next up is a challenge though. The Rangers travel to Cleveland to kick off a four-game set tonight against the Indians, who are 19-6 at home this year and have the best record in the bigs this season at 33-20.
2. Seattle Mariners (28-27) — As hot as the Rangers have been, the Mariners have unfortunately matched it, also going 7-3 over their last 10 games. This recent tear for the Mariners has been completely out of left field and has pretty much directly coincided with former Ranger Milton Bradley's involuntary departure from the team. With four starters with sub-4.00 ERAs led by rookie phenom Michael Pineda's 2.30, the Mariners have always had the arms, but the offense as of late has picked things up despite not having a regular hitting better than .285. The Mariners host a four-game set starting tonight against the Rays, who the Rangers just took a series from.
3. Los Angeles Angels (29-29) — The perennial AL West favorite Angels have slipped into third place, but it's not time to write them off yet as they're just 2 games back of the Rangers with the oddity of a .500 record at home and a .500 record on the road, for, you guessed it, a .500 record. The Angels just don't seem to have anything to wow you with this year. Jered Weaver is obviously a great ace, but Dan Haren is battling injury right now and might have a trip to the DL in the near future, which would cripple the Angels' staff even more. They've lost two straight and host a three-game set with the Yankees starting Friday. Things could get worse.
4. Oakland A's (27-30) — Many "expert" picks entering the season had the A's as the team that would dethrone the Rangers' one-year perch atop the division, but that's not looking too promising right now. Much like the Mariners, the Angels have four starters with sub-4.00 ERAs and two with sub-3.00 in Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez, but their bats are anemic, led by Coco Crisp's .272 average and having Josh Willingham as the only scary bat in the lineup with his 10 home runs and 37 RBIs but just a .240 average. They've lost three in a row and now head to Boston for a three-game set beginning Friday. Two words: Uh oh.