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 A's (59-42) — The A's were just a couple of mistake pitches away from being swept by the last-place Astros, but like good teams do, they made Houston pay for those two mistakes and won two of the three games in Houston. The A's are .500 over their last 10 games dating back to before the all-star break and have a three-game lead over the Rangers. Next up: Today, 9:05 p.m., vs. Los Angeles Angels.
2. Texas Rangers (56-45) — A look at the past 10 games shows a team reeling, having won just three of their last 10 games dating back to before the break. But the Rangers got a huge shot in the arm on Wednesday with the arrival of Matt Garza and his stellar debut. If not for a rare blown save from Joe Nathan, the Rangers would be gunning for a four-game sweep of the Yankees on Thursday, but they'll have to settle for three out of four instead. Next up: Today, 1:05 p.m., vs. New York Yankees.
3. Seattle Mariners (48-53) — The Mariners are one of the hottest teams in baseball as of late. A loss on Wednesday snapped an eight-game winning streak as the Mariners have suddenly gone from sure-fire sellers with some bats to provide to a team that might be looking to stick this thing out and try to play for a wild-card spot. The Mariners' pitching has always been there, but they have some offense and some pop now led by the ageless Raul Ibanez and Kendrys Morales. Next up: Today, 9:10 p.m., vs. Minnesota Twins.
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4. Los Angeles Angels (47-52) — The Angels were getting hot prior to the all-star break but that didn't last long. The Angels have now lost six of 10 and Josh Hamilton is nursing a mysterious injured ankle. Always gonna be something weird with that guy, he said so himself. Next up: Today, 9:05 p.m., at Oakland A's.
5. Houston Astros (34-66) — It sounds crazy to say, but this team has actually played better than several people thought, although they're already 24 1/2 games out in the division. Heard someone on MLB Network say the other night that if the Astros don't lose 100 games this year then manager Bo Porter should get AL Manager of the Year consideration. Don't know about that, but they have shown some promise. Next up: Today, 6:07 p.m., at Toronto Blue Jays.