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. Texas Rangers (15-4) — When the New York Yankees came to town to face a pitcher they've owned (Derek Holland), one with a propensity for wildness (Yu Darvish) and a bullpen start, it seemed the Rangers' hot start might have hit a bit of a wall and that they might finally lose more than one game in a row and drop a series. Instead, the Rangers took the last two games of the series after dropping the first. The Rangers have now won 8 of their last 10 and have one road loss — a one-run loss to Justin Verlander. Things don't get much easier for the Rangers this weekend. After an off-day today they'll host the Tampa Bay Rays, but at this point with this team, no opponent should be too concerning. Next up: Friday, 7:05 p.m., vs. Tampa Bay Rays.
2. Oakland A's (10-10) — Don't look now, but the two afterthoughts in the AL West might be better than most folks gave them credit for. The A's have won two straight over the Chicago White Sox and sit 5.5 games back of the Rangers. It's still difficult to figure out how the A's have done this well without much of a lineup and decent starting pitching even though they lost their ace from last season, Gio Gonzalez. Next up: Friday, 6:05 p.m., at Baltimore Orioles.
3. Seattle Mariners (9-10) — See above. Same goes for the Mariners. They're coming off two straight wins in Detroit, against what is perceived as one of the top teams in baseball. Remember, the Mariners did beat the Rangers once (as did the Tigers) so that has to say something, right? They close out that series today, and taking three of four from the Tigers would go a long way not only toward the Mariners' confidence, but also their legitimacy. Next up: Today, 12:05 p.m., at Detroit Tigers.
4. Los Angeles Angels (6-12) — Raise your hand if you're nearly 1/8 of the way through the season and you're playing .333 baseball. OK, now put your hands down, Albert and C.J. The Angels are far from done, let's be realistic. But when a team like the Rangers is in front of you and you dig a hole like this (8.5 games back in April) that's some pressure. Pujols still hasn't homered this season. That will come. C.J. Wilson is actually pitching really well but isn't getting any run support. They've dropped three straight and could fall victim to a four-game sweep this afternoon, which would put them nine games out heading into play on Friday. Next up: Today, 12:10 p.m., at Tampa Bay Rays