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 (30-17) — The Rangers are limping right now but pulled off a huge, unexpected win on Wednesday afternoon by beating the A's to avoid a series sweep at home by their closest AL West rivals behind a 30-year-old journeyman making his first big-league start. The Rangers have been ravaged by injuries recently and are still staying among the league's top teams and are just one of two teams in all of baseball with 30 wins, the other being the St. Louis Cardinals (30-16). Next up: Friday, 9:10 p.m., at Seattle Mariners.
2. Oakland A's (25-23) — The A's did some good for themselves this week in Arlington, but a win on Wednesday to complete a three-game sweep would've put the A's within 3 1/2 games after entering the series with a 6 1/2-game deficit. Now, as it stands, the A's have the biggest deficit in baseball of any of the second-place teams. The A's starting pitching isn't quite what it was last year, though that bullpen is still really stout, and the Rangers leave the series with a still-comfortable lead in the division. Next up: Friday, 7:10 p.m., at Houston Astros.
3. Seattle Mariners (20-27) — The Mariners are ripe for the taking right now, entering this weekend's series with Texas having lost six straight, including a sweep at the hands of the suddenly resurgent Los Angeles Angels. The Mariners will send King Felix to the hill after the Rangers avoided him in their last matchup earlier in the year, but if they can win another one of the games that'd be a huge victory for the struggling M's. Next up: Friday, 9:10 p.m., vs. Texas Rangers.
4. Los Angeles Angels (19-27) — Looks who's decided to start winning some baseball games ... It's almost not "still early" anymore, but the Angels are starting to show some life and are coming off a three-game sweep of the Seattle Mariners after C.J. Wilson threw an eight-inning gem on Wednesday night to complete it. Josh Hamilton has his batting average all the way up in the .220s, which if you consider his start means he's pretty hot at the dish right now. Next up is the once-hot Royals who have now won 3 of their last 10. Could be another waiting victim for the Angels. Next up: Today, 7:10 p.m., at Kansas City Royals.
5. Houston Astros (14-33) — Wow. The Astros are now 16 games back in the division. In May. Things are only going to get better as they could easily be 40-50 games out by the time the season winds down. It'd be great for their in-state rival if they could have some success this weekend though. Next up: Friday, 7:10 p.m., vs. Oakland A's.