Los Angeles Angels Albert Pujols connects for a two-run homer against Washington Nationals Taylor Jordan in the fifth inning of a baseball game in Washington, Tuesday, April 22, 2014. This was Pujols 500th career home run. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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 Athletics (57-34) — The A's made a big statement earlier in the week when they acquired Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to bolster their starting rotation. They have the best record in all of baseball and show no real signs of cooling down. It appears the American League will come down to Oakland and Detroit. Next up: Today, 2:45 p.m., at San Francisco Giants.
2. Los Angeles Angels (53-37) — Along with the Nationals, the Angels are the hottest team in baseball over the past 10 games, winning eight of those 10. Behind the A's, they have the second-best record in all of baseball. Albert Pujols is playing like he's back in a Cardinals uniform, mashing the ball, and the Angels' pitching staff has gotten a lot better with recent bullpen acquisitions while Garrett Richards is one of the best young pitchers in the game. Next up: Today, 7:05 p.m., at Texas Rangers.
3. Seattle Mariners (49-42) — If the season ended today, the Angels and Mariners would be the two AL wild card teams, speaking to just how good the division is this year. Expect the Mariners to go all-in at the trade deadline to make a push at the postseason, where they haven't been since the days of Ichiro. Next up: Today, 9:10 p.m., vs. Minnesota Twins.
4. Houston Astros (39-54) — The Astros aren't a good team, but they're fun to watch with all of their young prospects who are raking and hitting home runs at a near-AL best clip. George Springer is really fun to watch, and Dallas Keuchel is one of the league's top young pitchers, as well. They've drawn even with the Rangers and appear destined to lock up the Silver Boot series, for whatever that's worth. Next up: Friday, 7:10 p.m., vs. Boston Red Sox.
5. Texas Rangers (38-53) — So it's come to this. The Rangers are 19 games out of first place and have lost 18 of their last 21 games. With the summer heat still coming and the overworked pitching staff, things are likely to get worse. Next up: Today, 7:05 p.m., vs. Los Angeles Angels.