BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 8: Josh Hamilton #10 of the Texas Rangers hits a home run in the ninth inning during a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 8, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. Hamilton hit four home runs during the game to become the 16th player in MLB history to make the accomplishment. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
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 (31-20) — Talk about a team struggling, the Rangers had a horrid May by their standards and are coming off two straight blowout losses to the lowly Seattle Mariners, but they still find themselves with the best record in the American League. The Roy Oswalt signing this week is expected to give the club a nice boost when he arrives and Neftali Feliz hits the bullpen. Right now, they need to just stay afloat like they have since starting the season with a 15-4 record. While the Rangers have struggled, the Los Angeles Angels have surged and their winning streak was stopped at eight games on Wednesday night. Now, the Rangers head to Anaheim for the first time this season for a weekend series as the Angels will have a chance to make the standings really interesting. Next up: Friday, 9:05 p.m., at Los Angeles Angels.
2. Los Angeles Angels (26-26) — The New York Yankees managed to avoid a sweep by the Angels on Wednesday night with a 6-5 win over the surging Angels, who have now won eight of their last 10 games behind a suddenly living and breathing offense. That, of course, is led by the coming to life of Albert Pujols, who was second in the American League in RBIs in May behind, you guessed it, Josh Hamilton. A sweep of the Rangers at home could put the Angels within 2 1/2 games but it won't be easy with the recent trip to the disabled list for ace pitcher Jered Weaver. Next up: Friday, 9:05 p.m., vs. Texas Rangers.
3. Seattle Mariners (23-30) — It sounds a little funny to say it, but yes, even though the Mariners wiped the floor at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington with the Rangers' pitching staff, the AL West has finally settled in to being the two-horse race everyone expected to see between the Rangers and Angels. The Mariners' offense definitely showed some life this week, and their starting pitching is still better than average but they still have two starters hitting below .200 and only two hitting above .250. They aren't for real. Next up: Friday, 7:10 p.m., at Chicago White Sox.
4. Oakland A's (22-29) — Tied with the Mariners at nine full games out of first place, the A's have really fallen recently, losing eight of their last 10 games and helping the Angels get off on their winning streak. The same that was said about the Mariners can be said about the A's, minus the whole offensive surge thing. The A's are hurting. Next up: Friday, 7:10 p.m., at Kansas City Royals.