Jarrod Parker is one of a handful of Oakland A's youngsters who have been pleasant surprises to their pitching staff.
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 (85-57) — The Rangers are going for a series sweep of the lowly Cleveland Indians tonight, but will do so with a likely injury-hampered lineup that might feature some folks playing in some unusual spots. They've played some of the best baseball of any team in the league at 7-3 in their last 10 games, but they can't seem to shake those swingin' Oakland A's, who now own the second-best record in the American League. Next up: Today, 7:05 p.m., vs. Cleveland Indians.
2. Oakland A's (82-60) — It's really unbelievable what the Athletics have done this season. Despite many pitching injuries, the A's have run in guys who were originally penciled into the rotation and they've become freakin' Cy Young candidates. That goes without mentioning the A's bats, which have been big for a good stretch of the season now led by guys like Yoenis Cespesdes, Josh Reddick and more recently, Josh Donaldson. The A's have won six straight and will go for a third straight win over the Los Angeles Angels tonight at the Big A. Next up: Today, 2:35 p.m., at Los Angeles Angels.
3. Los Angeles Angels (77-66) — At 8 1/2 games back out of first place in the AL West, the Angels are pretty much out of the division race, which is hilarious in its own right. But don't count them out of the postseason yet at just 3 1/2 games out of the wild card race. Of course, that hope has been dampered by their performance this week, at home, against the A's, who currently hold one of the two wild card spots. If the Angels somehow squeak into the postseason, they'd be a scary draw come playoff time with their pitching rotation. Next up: Today, 2:35 p.m., vs. Oakland A's.
4. Seattle Mariners (69-74) — Not much else to say about these guys anymore, except they've given the Rangers all kinds of fits this season and will come to Arlington this weekend. Good thing for the Rangers, they somehow avoid Felix Hernandez yet again. Next up: Today, 6:07 p.m., at Toronto Blue Jays.