Ian Kinsler #5 of the Texas Rangers scores on a hit by Josh Hamilton in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on September 25, 2012 in Arlington, Texas.
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 (49-31) — The Rangers have undoubtedly struggled recently, but Oakland hasn't been exactly setting the world on fire over its last 10 games. The Rangers have taken two of three games against the A's with the fourth and final game coming Thursday afternoon, and the A's enter that game with a 2-game lead in the division as they've seen the Rangers' offense regain some life, specifically on Wednesday with the Rangers' 9-4 win. Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Reddick, two of their A's offensive stars from 2012, are in year-long slumps so far in 2013. Next up: Today, 1:05 p.m., at Texas Rangers.
2. Texas Rangers (40-32) — The return of Ian Kinsler from the disabled list and another hot streak from Nelson Cruz have helped jumpstart a lifeless Rangers' offense. In Monday's 8-7 win, they scored as many runs as they had in the previous week, and then they put up nine runs on Wednesday. But the offense isn't out of the woods yet, as evidenced by Tuesday's three-hit (all singles) performance. The Rangers still need more starting pitching, but they will get back another key offensive star in Mitch Moreland on Friday after a 15-day stint on the DL. Next up: Today, 1:05 p.m., vs. Oakland A's.
3. Los Angeles Angels (32-40) — Josh Hamilton hit seventh on Wednesday night, and still turned in an o'fer. You think David Murphy has been bad this year, Rangers fans? Well, Hamilton has been worse. No one could have honestly seen this coming, but Rangers fans have to be happy to see the Hamilton decision proving to be a solid one this past off-season. Jered Weaver hasn't taken back over as the ace he was when he went on the DL, and the Angels are still far away from being a factor in the division. Next up: Today, 9:05 p.m., vs. Seattle Mariners.
4. Seattle Mariners (32-41) — In a bit of an oddity, the entire division is 5-5 in their last 10 games, except for the Rangers (3-7), so as bad as the Rangers have been recently, they really haven't hurt themselves too badly. It was a great opportunity for the Angels or Mariners to make a decent run at contending, but neither team has taken advantage. Next up: Today, 9:05 p.m., at Los Angeles Angels.
5. Houston Astros (27-46) — At 15 1/2 games back, this rag-tag team has been out of the picture for quite some time now. Jose Altuve is still pretty fun to watch, turning in three hits and three stolen bases on Wednesday night, including two steals of third base. But yeah, not much else to see here. Next up: Today, 1:10 p.m., vs. Milwaukee Brewers.