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. Seattle Mariners (2-1) — Thanks to a new-look offense, led so far by Michael Morse's three home runs in the past two games, the Mariners are off to a hot start against the defending AL West champion Oakland A's with the finale of a four-game set coming Thursday afternoon. If Morse, Kyle Seager, Kendrys Morales & Co. can score some runs, the Mariners' pitching staff could be lethal. Next up: Today, 2:35 p.m., at Oakland A's.
2. Texas Rangers (2-1) — After an embarrassing loss in the season opener, which could've been chalked up in part to the hype at Minute Maid Park with the Astros playing their first AL game and also to the fact the Rangers played an exhibition in San Antonio the day before, the Rangers were dominant on Tuesday and Wednesday with two shutout wins, including Yu Darvish's near-perfecto on Tuesday night. Rangers pitchers racked up 43 strikeouts in the three-game series against the Astros' Triple-A lineup, but now they'll get tested. Next up: Friday, 1:05 p.m., vs. Los Angeles Angels.
3. Los Angeles Angels (1-1) — After winning an extra-innings pitchers' duel in Game 1, the Angels were walked off by the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday evening, thanks to a flub at first base by Albert Pujols. There's no doubt the Angels' lineup is stacked with Pujols, Mike Trout and Josh Hamilton, but Hamilton is hitless through his first two games as an Angel. C.J. Wilson had a poor start in his debut Wednesday and the bullpen has been questionable. One more against the Reds before heading to Texas. Next up: Today, 11:35 a.m., at Cincinnati Reds.
4. Houston Astros (1-2) — After watching the past two games, there's no question Sunday night was a fluke and this really is one of the worst teams to be fielded in Major League Baseball in years. The Astros struck out 30 times over the past two games and 13 times in their win on Sunday. In the AL, which is more focused on hitting than the NL, the Astros will struggle even more. Next up: Friday, 7:10 p.m., vs. Oakland A's.
5. Oakland A's (1-2) — So far, the A's stacked pitching hasn't been so dominant and neither has their offense. Brett Anderson and Tommy Milone both had less-than-stellar debuts. This team will no doubt figure into the top of the West, but so far, not so good for the A's. Next up: Today, 2:35 p.m., vs. Seattle Mariners.