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. Texas Rangers (20-10) — The Rangers were in a funk, coming off three straight series losses but have since caught fire, outscoring the Baltimore Orioles 24-6 in the first two games of a four-game series and knocking the Orioles from the league's top perch early in the season. After rain killed their momentum on Wednesday, the Rangers and O's will play a doubleheader today and will look to win their first series since taking two of three from the Yankees late last month. I guess that's what happens when you start 12-2, you have room for a little slump. Next up: Today, 3:05 p.m. (doubleheader), at Baltimore Orioles.
2. Oakland A's (16-15) — Amazingly, this team is staying in the hunt. Yes, it's early but we figured by this point they'd be like seven games out or something. Hmmm. Instead they sit 4.5 games out and start a series at home against the surprisingly mediocre Detroit Tigers. The A's have scored the fewest runs in in the division and the second-fewest in the American League behind the Minnesota Twins. Their pitching is keeping them alive right now. Next up: Today, 9:05 p.m., Detroit Tigers.
3. Seattle Mariners (15-18) — Basically, see above. The A's and Mariners are similar teams although the Mariners' lineup has taken a step forward this year with the addition of guys like Jesus Montero. But they still have guys like Felix Hernandez, Blake Beavan and Justin Vargas that can keep teams in games. We said it all winter, this division would come down to two teams. So far, it's come down to one. Next up: Friday, 6:05 p.m., at New York Yankees.
4. Los Angeles Angels (14-18) — They still haven't made much ground. Despite being 7-3 in their last 10 games and coming off a series against the lowly Minnesota Twins, the Angels are still seven games back of the Rangers, meaning even if the Rangers were swept today there would be no way the Angels could take first place over the weekend when they come to Arlington for a three-game set. The Angels' bullpen is in shambles, as Mansfield's own Jordan Walden was stripped of the closer's role only to see Scott Downs go down with an injury. Their offense is also a mess, as evidenced by the much publicized career-worst slump Albert Pujols has started the season in, with just one home run. It's going to be a fun weekend at Rangers Ballpark. Next up: Friday, 7:05 p.m., at Texas Rangers