OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 11: Starting pitcher Jarrod Parker #11 of the Oakland Athletics pitches in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers in Game Five of the American League Division Series at O.co Coliseum on October 11, 2012 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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. Oakland A's (40-27) — The A's have taken advantage of the Rangers struggles recently and have been red-hot themselves, but all of that still just has them with a 1-game lead in the division. The Rangers should really not feel all that bad about this. Things could be much worse considering the injury problems the Rangers have had. Next up: Today, 2:35 p.m., vs. New York Yankees.
2. Texas Rangers (38-27) — The Rangers' offense is really scuffling, partly because of the absence of Mitch Moreland and Ian Kinsler and partly because their approach at the plate has just not been all that great lately. It's been since June 6 that a Rangers starting pitcher has even left a game with a lead and they've now lost three straight series. That's pretty staggering for a club known for having a ton of offense. Next up: Today, 7:05 p.m., vs. Toronto Blue Jays.
3. Seattle Mariners (29-38) — This has pretty much boiled down to being a two-team race between the A's and Rangers, and the Mariners have overtaken the Angels for third place. Something to note here, the Mariners are enjoying the emergence of rookie Nick Franklin, who's become their second baseman in favor of fellow prospect Dustin Ackley, who's now playing in the outfield in the minors. Next up: Friday, 9:05 p.m., at Oakland A's.
4. Los Angeles Angels (28-38) — Thought the Rangers were struggling? Well, the Angels have won just three of their last 10 games and Josh Hamilton is now being used as the No. 2 hitter in the lineup, taking him out of a run-producing role. Who would've honestly seen that coming? Not seeing many hands in the air. This is a mess, and it's pretty amazing that Mike Scioscia is still employed despite his overall greatness. Next up: Friday, 9:05 p.m., vs. New York Yankees.
5. Houston Astros (23-44) — So much for their mini hot streak last week, the Astros are back to being the worst team in baseball. Not really much to speak of here. Next up: Friday, 7:10 p.m., vs. Chicago White Sox.