American League's Yoenis Cespedes, of the Oakland Athletics, poses with the trophy after winning the MLB All-Star baseball Home Run Derby, on Monday, July 15, 2013 in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
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 (84-61) — The A's are hot, winning seven of their last 10 with a chance to win a four-game series in Minnesota on Thursday. Oakland is red-hot, as evidenced by its 18-run outburst on Wednesday night as Yoenis Cespedes is coming to life at the right time for the A's after performing well below expectations of him for much of the season. Winning a series in Texas this weekend could all but lock up the division for the second straight season after the Rangers won the West in 2010 and 2011. Next up: Today, 12:10 p.m., at Minnesota Twins.
2. Texas Rangers (81-64) — The Rangers have won just two of their last 10 games and just got swept at home by Pittsburgh. Things are looking bleak, there's no question about it. But the Rangers get a much-needed day off on Thursday before buckling down for 17 straight games to end the season. Say what you want about the Rangers, but the Rangers are fighters, and they always have been for Ron Washington. Every time this team goes through a stretch like the one they're in now, they respond with an inversely good stretch. Not saying a sweep is likely this weekend, but the Rangers could be within a half-game or tied by the end of the weekend. Next up: Friday, 7:05 p.m., vs. Oakland A's.
3. Los Angeles Angels (69-76) — The Angels have been pretty hot lately and took a series from the Rangers over the weekend. Mark Trumbo is red-hot at the plate after his usual September swoons, and all this club can play for is to play spoiler. With that said, they still have four games left in Arlington and three at home against the A's. Next up: Today, 6:07 p.m., at Toronto Blue Jays.
4. Seattle Mariners (65-81) — After buckling down at the trade deadline and standing pat, despite having plenty of appealing pieces to deal, the Mariners were hoping to finish the season strong to perhaps save the jobs of those in the front office. Instead, they've tanked down the stretch and have won just three of their last 10 games, including four straight and a three-game sweep at the hands of the Houston Astros at home. Next up: Friday, 7:15 p.m., at St. Louis Cardinals.
5. Houston Astros (50-96) — The Astros just got a road sweep in Seattle and next head back home to host the Angels. That's about all there is to say here. Next up: Friday, 7:10 p.m., vs. Los Angeles Angels.