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. Los Angeles Angels (48-40) — We have a new first-place team in the division, as the Angels passed up Houston on the final day of the season's first half. They're hot at the moment, having won seven of their last 10 games, and are doing it with big offense and solid pitching. If they stay healthy, they're going to be tough down the stretch. Next up: Friday, 9:05 p.m., vs. Boston Red Sox.
2. Houston Astros (49-42) — Six straight losses have resulted in the Astros falling out of first place for the first time this season, as they currently sit a half-game back of the Angels despite having more wins than any team in the division. George Springer's injury and subsequent absence from the Astros' lineup has been a huge blow to them, and he won't be back any time soon. Next up: Friday, 7:10 p.m., vs. Texas Rangers.
3. Texas Rangers (42-46) — The Rangers blew a big opportunity to close out the season's first half, losing series at home to Arizona and a bad San Diego team. In the meantime, the Astros were losing games but the Rangers didn't make up any ground. The Rangers will hope the break was beneficial for ailing guys like Adrian Beltre and Josh Hamilton and that Martin Perez returns to form in a hurry. Next up: Friday, 7:10 p.m., at Houston Astros.
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4. Seattle Mariners (41-48) — The Mariners are just 1 1/2 games behind the Rangers and are one good series (and one bad Texas series) away from passing the Rangers. It's still been an awfully disappointing year for a team that projected by many to win the division. Next up: Friday, 6:05 p.m., at New York Yankees.
5. Oakland Athletics (41-50) — Unlike the Rangers, the A's started a win streak before the break, winning their last two games over Cleveland. They're now just 2 1/2 games back of the Rangers in what is turning into a pretty jumbled, painfully average division. Next up: Friday, 9:05 p.m., vs. Minnesota Twins.