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 (81-55) — Winning series is more than enough when you have the biggest divisional lead in the American League, and that's what the Rangers are doing right now. They've also gotten great help from their fierce rivals, the Los Angeles Angels, who just swept away the Oakland A's, who had gotten to within three games of the Rangers over the weekend. Now, the lead is back up to a healthy five games and the Rangers go for yet another series win tonight against the Royals, trying to take three out of four before heading off to a tough series against the hot Tampa Bay Rays, who the Rangers won a series against in Arlington last week. Next up: Today, 7:10 p.m., at Kansas City Royals.
2. Oakland A's (76-60) — The Angels have cooled the A's off from arguably the hottest team in baseball to a team that's been swept. The A's have an offense now with the likes of Josh Reddick, Seth Smith, Yoenis Cespedes, etc., and their pitching is strong, as always. They did have a scare on Wednesday when Brandon McCarthy took a line drive to the back of the noggin. He won't make the trip to Seattle. That would be bad for the A's if McCarthy has to miss any starts with just a month left to play and a division title still in their grasps along with a wild card berth that they would have if the season ended today. Next up: Friday, 9:10 p.m., at Seattle Mariners.
3. Los Angeles Angels (74-63) — Jered Weaver is missing a start to have his arm examined after getting plunked by a comebacker to the mound. That could be a kill-shot to the Angels' playoff hopes, which pretty much are relegated to the wild card race now, in which they sit just 2 1/2 games back now after sweeping the A's. Next up: Friday, 9:05 p.m., vs. Detroit Tigers.
4. Seattle Mariners (67-71) — The fact that the Mariners are approaching .500 status is something to be proud of in itself. This team really has no business being anywhere close to .500 with a month to play in the season, but they're plugging away and are guaranteed a victory every five days when Felix Hernandez takes the ball. Next up: Friday, 9:10 p.m., vs. Oakland A's.