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 (49-36) — The game of musical chairs atop the division continues this week with the A's taking the lead back thanks to the Rangers dropping a series at home to Seattle. Bartolo Colon helped the Rangers out a bit on Wednesday night, taking his first loss in seemingly forever against the Chicago Cubs to keep the Rangers' deficit at just a half-game. We're still a month away from another meeting between the top two teams in the division, and who knows what the standings will look like come then. Next up: Today, 3:05 p.m., vs. Chicago Cubs.
2. Texas Rangers (48-36) — After winning four straight series against World Series hopefuls Oakland, New York, Cincinnati and St. Louis, the Rangers have now dropped a series at home to the Seattle Mariners. That's just the way things go sometimes in baseball, but Wednesday's loss was particularly crushing as the Rangers fell to 1-6 on the season in extra-inning games. The Rangers can salvage some pride today with a win over Seattle before heading into their weekend series with last-place Houston. Next up: Today, 7:05 p.m., vs. Seattle Mariners.
3. Los Angeles Angels (40-44) — The Angels are still well out of the running but they're starting to win some games, and it's no coincidence this stretch of 7-3 in their last 10 games has come as Josh Hamilton has found his swing again, even if it's still without the home-run power. The Angels pitching is still quite a mess though, as C.J. Wilson is the team's de facto ace at the moment. Next up: Today, 8:05 p.m., vs. St. Louis Cardinals.
4. Seattle Mariners (37-47) — The Mariners' offense has been very average this year, except against the Rangers of course when Kendrys Morales looks like Babe Ruth. They've jumped on the Rangers this week early and not looked back as they've turned the game over to their better-than-average starting pitchers. That trend could continue tonight with the AL's ERA leader Hisashi Iwakuma on the hill in Arlington. Next up: Today, 7:05 p.m., at Texas Rangers.
5. Houston Astros (31-54) — The Astros are currently one game back of the Miami Marlins in the chase for the worst record in all of baseball and are 3-7 in their last 10 games. They should be ripe for the picking for the Rangers this weekend despite ending a five-game losing skid on Wednesday with a win over Tampa Bay. Next up: Today, 1:10 p.m., vs. Tampa Bay Rays.