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 (27-18) — Just thank your lucky stars the Texas Rangers are in the AL West, and not another division where they would have a narrow lead or possibly be in second place. Instead, the Rangers have the second biggest division lead in all of baseball at five games over the Oakland A's. Going 12-14 in their last 26 games is a big reason for that as they've managed to just tread water atop the division at 10-10 over their last 20 games in a 20-day stretch. The offense is struggling. The starting pitching is struggling. The bullpen is awesome. Next up: Friday, 7:05 p.m., vs. Toronto Blue Jays.
2. Oakland A's (22-23) — Just like the Rangers, the A's are 4-6 in their last 10 outings and have lost two straight to the Los Angeles Angels, including getting one-hit by C.J. Wilson. The A's split a short two-game series with the Rangers last week, but luckily for the Rangers this team hasn't played better during the Rangers' slump. Next up: Friday, 9:05 p.m., vs. New York Yankees.
3. Seattle Mariners (21-25) — Well, for Rangers fans, the one positive about the Mariners' solid play as of late is that the rival Angels are back in the bottom spot in the AL West as the Mariners enter play on Thursday with a half-game advantage over the Angels. The Mariners' lineup is starting to find its identity and the starting pitching is good as always, and playing in Safeco Field certainly doesn't hurt matters. Now, they'll start a four-game set against the Angels. Next up: Today, 9:10 p.m., vs. Los Angeles Angels.
4. Los Angeles Angels (20-25) — Taking two straight from the Oakland A's to close their series has helped pick the Angels back up to being just seven games out of the lead in the West now. The offense is starting to show some signs of life, and Vernon Wells' injury might be a good thing as Peter Bourjos and Mike Trout will continue to see more playing time now. The starting pitching is still good, and the bullpen is getting better with the addition of the lights out Ernesto Frieri, who has struck out an astonishing 19 batters in 8 2/3 innings of work in Los Angeles since being traded from San Diego. He hasn't allowed a hit. The Angels aren't dead yet, folks. Next up: Today, 9:10 p.m., at Seattle Mariners.