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 (65-45) — August was prime for the taking for the Rangers, and it seems as though they've finally cracked their two-month slump at the plate. They're scoring runs in bunches, including a 10-9 win on Wednesday at Fenway. The starting pitching has been a big concern, and of the teams in the AL West, they definitely have the weakest rotation right now. But their bullpen is still one of the league's strongest, and if the bats can get hot for a sustained period of time again, they should be able to fight through the rotation woes, at least until October. Next up: Friday, 7:05 p.m., vs. Detroit Tigers.
2. Oakland A's (60-51) — The A's just took two straight to win their series with the Los Angeles Angels, and overtake the Rangers' fiercest rivals once again for second place in what's arguably the best division in baseball. Josh Reddick is crushing the ball, as he has been all season. And that starting pitching is still really good. If this recent offensive outburst isn't a fluke, the A's are going to be dangerous down the stretch. They play the Rangers seven times in the final 10 games of the regular season. Look out. Next up: Friday, 7:10 p.m., at Chicago White Sox.
3. Los Angeles Angels (59-53) — C.J. Wilson continues to struggle, much in the way of the Rangers' starting pitchers. Could maybe lend some validity to the argument that they've simply pitched too many innings over the past two seasons with their deep postseason runs. Jered Weaver is arguably the best starting pitcher in the game this year, and Mike Trout is still amazing. But the Angels are somehow losing games more than they're winning them as of late. Next up: Friday, 9:05 p.m., vs. Seattle Mariners.
4. Seattle Mariners (51-62) — After being the hottest team in baseball last week, and actually giving a small threat to the third-place spot in the division, the Mariners have started cooling off now after running into the Baltimore Orioles. They've now lost four straight games with their young group of players who are still trying to figure the game out at this level. Trading Ichiro was a big step forward for this team, but they won't see beneficial results this year. Next up: Friday, 9:05 p.m., at Los Angeles Angels.