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 with the season's second half set to begin on Friday.
1. Oakland A's (56-39) — The A's just won't go away and after making their name last season with a young, phenomenal pitching staff made up of no-names, the A's offense is one of the tops in the league this year and that pitching staff is still intact. They won seven of their last 10 games heading into the break and still have multiple series on tap against the Rangers, beginning in a couple of weeks just after the trade deadline. Next up: Friday, 9:05 p.m., at Los Angeles Angels.
2. Texas Rangers (54-41) — Two games back of first place isn't so bad considering everything the Rangers had to deal with in the first half with numerous injuries and four of their five Opening Day starting pitchers on the disabled list at the same time. One of those, Yu Darvish, will return on Monday and Alexi Ogando should follow soon after. Throw in a trade acquisition or two and this team probably still has yet to play its best ball. Next up: Friday, 7:05 p.m., vs. Baltimore Orioles.
3. Los Angeles Angels (44-49) — After showing some life and pulling close to .500, the Angels slipped up aganist heading into the break, losing three straight games to the Seattle Mariners. It's hard to imagine this team becoming a player over the second half but they do still have 13 games remaining against the Rangers, so they have their destiny in their own hands — just don't see it mattering. Next up: Friday, 9:05 p.m., vs. Oakland A's.
4. Seattle Mariners (43-52) — The Mariners are looking to be sellers at the trade deadline and rumors are circulating that they could deal one, if not both, of their power-hitting middle-of-the-order hitters in veterans Kendrys Morales and Raul Ibanez. Look for Taijuan Walker, the top pitching prospect in baseball, to make his big-league debut soon after he starred in the MLB Futures Games earlier this week. Next up: Friday, 7:10 p.m., at Houston Astros.
5. Houston Astros (33-61) — The Astros will almost surely finish with the worst record in baseball and have been working with a Triple-A lineup, plus a couple of solid players, for the entire season. This team is total rebuilding mode, and judging by their farm it seems to be working. Next up: Friday, 7:10 p.m., vs. Seattle Mariners.