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. Houston Astros (49-38) — The Astros have lost two straight games, and now they've been caught in the loss column by the Angels. They're still going well and will be in it for the long haul, but it'll be interesting to see if they can hold off a much more experienced Angels squad. Next up: Tonight, 6:10 p.m., at Cleveland Indians.
2. Los Angeles Angels (46-38) — The streaking Angels have won five straight and nine of 10 games and now they're just 1.5 games back of the Astros and firmly planted in one of the two AL Wild Card spots. Albert Pujols is vintage Pujols all the sudden, and Mike Trout is still the game's best player. The key has been the Angels' starting pitching, which has come around lately and made the team a well-rounded one. Next up: Tonight, 9:10 p.m., at Seattle Mariners.
3. Texas Rangers (41-44) — The Rangers are in a massive nosedive right now, having lost five straight games and eight straight in their home park. With a really bad Padres team coming to town and throwing three righties against them, the Rangers must win this series and a sweep would be even better as they head into the all-star break. Next up: Friday, 7:05 p.m., vs. San Diego Padres.
4. Seattle Mariners (39-46) — The Mariners are closing on the slumping Rangers, but are only 5-5 in their last 10, so they're far from scorching. It's still a shock that they haven't seen any big heads roll yet in the form of their manager or front office. Next up: Tonight, 9:10 p.m., vs. Los Angeles Angels.
5. Oakland Athletics (39-48) — They're 10 games out of the lead in the division, and now Scott Kazmir is dealing with an arm issue. Not good for the A's. Next up: Today, 12:05 p.m., at New York Yankees.