NEW YORK - APRIL 17: Nelson Cruz #17 of the Texas Rangers is met at the plate by Josh Hamilton #32 after hitting a home run against The New York Yankees during their game on April 17, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx Borough of New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Nelson Cruz;Josh Hamilton
In what is a weekly segment, let's take a look around the rest of the AL West, which includes your Texas Rangers coming off a much-needed sweep and taking back first place by themselves.
1. Texas Rangers (47-41) — Everything seems to be coming together for the Rangers, which might have something to do with playing at home, but even still. They collected 46 hits, embarrassed the Baltimore Orioles twice and came back late to win another game, something they'd done only twice this season. Tommy Hunter is healthy and pitching well, so far, in the bullpen. Scott Feldman is nearing a return. Alexi Ogando has put together back-to-back strong starts after struggling for a few weeks. The lineup is all swinging the bats well, together. Things look to be going well and with a four-game series starting tonight against the lowly Oakland A's, the Rangers have a chance to get a really hot streak going into the All-Star break.
2. Los Angeles Angels (46-42) — The Detroit Tigers finally beat the Angels, and helped the Rangers get out of that pesky tie for first place. The Angels are still the hottest team in the division over the last 10 games, winning seven of them. But the Angels are still are one-sided team for the most part, though not to the degree of the A's or Mariners, but they make their living off their pitching. It'd be different if the Rangers were the Rangers of the early 2000s with no pitching but they're not that team anymore, clearly. The Angels have four games against the Mariners starting tonight to take them to the break, so even if the Rangers sweep the A's, it might not help them much.
3. Seattle Mariners (43-44) &mdash The Mariners are just cruising along in mediocrity with their stellar starting pitching (even though Erik Bedard is hurt again) and their terrible, awful offense. This team never really seemed to be a serious threat even when they were pushing for the division lead a couple of weeks ago, and now it's starting to play out that way. They're just 2 1/2 games back of the Angels though, so a good series this weekend could vault them back into second place.
4. Oakland A's (39-49) — Bad, bad, bad. That's really all you can say about this injury-riddled, underachieving team. Now they're coming to Arlington for a four-game set, which was originally supposed to be three games if not for that rainout earlier this year when the Rangers led 7-0 after jumping out on Oakland ace Gio Gonzalez before the game was called in after four innings, one inning shy of being an official game. Mitch Moreland lost a grand slam in that "game". You think he forgot about that? Probably not, A's. Look out.