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 Athletics (51-33) — The A's just keep on going. After losing three straight to Detroit, they are still clinging to the best record in all of baseball by percentage points over the Milwaukee Brewers, and they're sure to make some moves before the July 31 trade deadline to shore up their offense in positions like second base. So yeah, they're probably just going to get better. The West appears to be theirs for the taking, but there are a couple of teams within striking distance. Next up: Today, 8:05 p.m., vs. Toronto Blue Jays.
2. Los Angeles Angels (47-36) — The Angels sit 3 1/2 games back of Oakland and in prime position to at least grab one of the two AL wild card spots. Mike Trout is coming off a spectacular June, which earned him AL player of the month, and the Angels are also getting contributions from some young, unproven guys that have them back in the hunt after a few disappointing seasons. Next up: Today, 9:05 p.m., vs. Houston Astros.
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3. Seattle Mariners (47-38) — Wow. Don't look now, but the Mariners are in a playoff race, and possibly a division race, and like the A's and Angels, they're going to be in the market to upgrade their offense before July 31. The Mariners have won four straight games and eight of their last 10, and they got the season debut of their prized pitching prospect Taijuan Walker on Monday. Pairing him with the AL's best pitcher, King Felix, and Hisashi Iwakuma will be spectacular. They're 4 1/2 out of first place and could easily, along with the Angels, claim the two AL wild card spots. Next up: Friday, 6:10 p.m., at Chicago White Sox.
4. Texas Rangers (37-47) — Things are just getting downright ugly now. The Rangers are 10 games under .500 for the first time since the last day of the 2007 season — Ron Washington's first year in Texas. They've lost four straight, eight of their last 10 and 13 of their last 16 games and are now 14 games out of first place and just two games up of last-place Houston. Ugh. Next up: Today, 6:05 p.m., at Baltimore Orioles.
5. Houston Astros (36-50) — The Astros are young and exciting, for sure. But they're still bad. At this point, they're just hoping to finish the season with no more than 90 losses, and that would be a win for them. Next up: Today, 9:05 p.m., at Los Angeles Angels.