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 (60-43) — Well, things haven't been too good for this club over the past two months, but they've still managed to keep a safe distance between themselves, the Los Angeles Angels and the suddenly hot Oakland A's. Wednesday night's come-from-behind win over the Angels, which had to be the most dramatic victory in quite some time for the Rangers, could be just what the Rangers need to ignite themselves to a nice August, September and October. A win tonight will send the Angels out of town with the same 5-game deficit they came with, which would be a huge Rangers' victory considering how the first two games of the four-game set went. Next up: Today, 7:05 p.m., vs. Los Angeles Angels.
2. Los Angeles Angels (57-48) — When you consider everything, there hasn't been a more impressive team in the AL West over the past month than the Angels. Their pitching is strong and their bats are hitting on all cylinders with a red-hot Albert Pujols and possibly the best player in baseball, 20-year-old Mike Trout. Heck, even Torii Hunter has turned things around and turned in a fine season. They have to be frustrated though with their inability to make up any meaningful ground on the Rangers. Next up: Today, 7:05 p.m., at Texas Rangers.
3. Oakland A's (56-48) — The A's have dropped two straight to the Tampa Bay Rays since taking the baseball world by storm and putting up the best July in the league. The A's pitching has been what's carried them throughout the season, with the bats coming to life lately thanks to Yoenis Cespesdes and Josh Reddick, and realize that the A's have star pitchers Dallas Braden and Brett Anderson nearing returns from injuries that have kept them out all season. The A's are right there for one of the two AL Wild Card spots, but don't be shocked it they don't sustain it for much longer. Next up: Today, 9:05 p.m., vs. Toronto Blue Jays.
4. Seattle Mariners (50-57) — Don't look now, folks, but the god-awful Mariners might be the hottest team in all of baseball. OK, well, they are. They are winners of seven straight games coming off a sweep of the Blue Jays and are mysteriously (or not so much) playing their best baseball of the year now that Ichiro Suzuki has been traded to the New York Yankees. Ichiro was a well-known diva in Seattle and ran the club. Now he's gone, and the Mariners are streaking. Next up? Ichiro. Next up: Friday, 6:05 p.m., at New York Yankees.