In a weekly post, 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 (76-64) — The Astros snapped out of a bad skid in a big way by putting up 11 runs in a win over Oakland on Wednesday night, but have won just four of their last 10 games and seen the Rangers get as close as one game before Wednesday's games. There are still seven games remaining against Texas, which at this point, will most likely decide this thing. It all starts Monday in Arlington. Next up: Friday, 9:05 p.m., at Los Angeles Angels.
2. Texas Rangers (73-65) — The Rangers are two games back of Houston now, and with the Astros off on Thursday can gain another half-game with a win in their finale against the Mariners. The lineup has been going pretty well despite ice-cold stretches from Prince Fielder and Adrian Beltre, but this team has been carried by both the starting rotation and the bullpen. Go figure. Next up: Today, 2:40 p.m., at Seattle Mariners.
3. Los Angeles Angels (70-69) — The Angels are hanging in there, but not by much. They host Houston this weekend and still have games against the Rangers, too, so theoretically, they're still in this thing even if they are 5 1/2 games out of the lead. Next up: Friday, 9:05 p.m., vs. Houston Astros.
4. Seattle Mariners (67-73) — Nelson Cruz's absence with his problematic quadriceps issue has killed any hope the Mariners had of making any kind of noise, even if it just as spoiler. They can split a four-game set with a win today over the Rangers and they have their ace on the hill. Next up: Today, 2:40 p.m., vs. Texas Rangers.
5. Oakland Athletics (60-80) — Move along, nothing to see here. Next up: Friday, 7:05 p.m., at Texas Rangers.