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 (74-53) — The Rangers have taken full advantage of a light August schedule, losing just four games this month and sweeping Houston for the second time in a week on Wednesday night to improve to a season-best 21 games over .500. The light schedule continues this weekend with a trip to Chicago where the White Sox await, but then there's a trip to Seattle, who took two of three from Texas over the weekend. That could be interesting. Next up: Friday, 7:10 p.m., at Chicago White Sox.
2. Oakland Athletics (71-55) — The A's led the Rangers by six games when the calendar turned to August, and now three weeks later, they're sitting 2 1/2 games back in the standings. Manager Bob Melvin called out his team for sloppy play after Wednesday's second straight loss to Seattle, which is doing a good job of playing spoiler to Oakland and Texas recently. Things get tougher for the A's, who now set out on a road trip that includes stops in Baltimore and Detroit. This is a pivotal week of baseball coming up for the Swingin' A's. Next up: Friday, 6:05 p.m., at Baltimore Orioles.
3. Seattle Mariners (59-67) — The Mariners aren't going to make the playoffs this year, but they appear to be getting hot again, which is a scary thought for the Rangers, who head to Seattle on Monday after dropping two of three to the Mariners at home over the weekend despite trouncing Felix Hernandez. The Mariners have won consecutive series against the Rangers and A's and now get to prey on the hapless Angels. Next up: Friday, 9:10 p.m., vs. Los Angeles Angels.
4. Los Angeles Angels (55-71) — The preseason World Series favorites are 18 1/2 games out of the AL West lead and 16 games out of the AL Wild Card race. Don't care who you are, that's funny. Somehow Mike Scioscia still has a job. You would've figured he'd have been used as a scapegoat by now. Next up: Friday, 9:10 p.m., at Seattle Mariners.
5. Houston Astros (41-85) — Poor, poor Astros. They seem to play with teams for about five or six innings and then their wheels just come flying off in a fiery accident. Things will get better for this bunch, but it won't be this year. Next up: Friday, 7:10 p.m., vs. Toronto Blue Jays.