Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester tips his cap to the fans after being taken out during the eighth inning of Game 1 of baseball's World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, in Boston. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
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 (66-41) — The team with the best record in baseball is coming off a loss to the Houston Astros but still holds a 2 1/2-game lead heading into August, and early on Thursday morning they made a splash on MLB Trade Deadline Day by acquiring AL Cy Young contender Jon Lester, who's been battle-tested in World Series action as a likely rental who they have almost no chance of signing to a deal this winter when he hits free agency. Clearly, the A's are all-in on winning the whole thing this year. Next up: Friday, 8:35 p.m., vs. Kansas City Royals.
2. Los Angeles Angels (63-43) — While Oakland has redone its starting rotation, acquiring Lester and Jeff Samardzija in the past month, as well as Jason Hammel, the Angels have completely retooled their once-weak bullpen by getting Jason Grilli and Huston Street to fortify the late innings. The Angels still have a great shot at unseating Oakland in the West, but it got a bit tougher on Thursday. Next up: Tonight, 6:05 p.m., at Baltimore Orioles.
3. Seattle Mariners (55-52) — The Mariners have slipped out of a wild card spot if the season ended today and seem to be fading. They'll look to upgrade at the deadline with a bat, but there just doesn't seem to be much out there. They've fallen to 11 games out of the West lead and have won just three of their last 10 games. Next up: Tonight, 6:05 p.m., at Cleveland Indians.
4. Houston Astros (44-64) — The Astros are clinging to a one-game lead over the Rangers ... for not last place. George Springer, their brightest bright spot this season, is banged up and things aren't going well at the moment. Silver lining: They do hold the Silver Boot at the moment. Next up: Tonight, 7:10 p.m., vs. Toronto Blue Jays.
5. Texas Rangers (43-65) — The Rangers have their first sliver of positive momentum in more than a month, having actually won a series on Wednesday night against the New York Yankees and sending Derek Jeter away from Arlington with a loss. Another positive: Colby Lewis looked like 2010 postseason Colby Lewis. The Thursday trade deadline will be interesting. Next up: Friday, 6:05 p.m., at Cleveland Indians.