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. Houston Astros (60-49) — The Astros showed an incredible ineptitude to get hits in clutch situations in their sweep at the hands of the Rangers. They have tons of big power bats, but can they hit situationally well enough to lock up the division? The pitching staff is starting to look a bit more vulnerable, as well, and like several teams expect them to make some waiver trade moves for bullpen help. Next up: Tonight, 9:05 p.m., at Oakland Athletics.
2. Los Angeles Angels (57-50) — The Angels won in walkoff fashion on Wednesday to snap out of a big skid, but they have still just won three of their last 10 games. C.J. Wilson is done for the season, and the Angels' rotation suddenly looks very suspect. Next up: Friday, 9:05 p.m., vs. Baltimore Orioles.
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3. Texas Rangers (54-53) — Back over .500 after a tremendous homestand and sweep of Houston, the Rangers are suddenly just five games back of Houston and three games back of the Angels, who are about to face a good Orioles team for the weekend while the Rangers go play a losing Mariners team. The Rangers happen to be tied with the Cubs for the most road wins in baseball. Next up: Friday, 9:10 p.m., at Seattle Mariners.
4. Seattle Mariners (50-59) — Nelson Cruz is on an amazing run right now, but other than him and Felix Hernandez, the disappointing Mariners just don't have much going in their favor. Next up: Friday, 9:10 p.m., vs. Texas Rangers.
5. Oakland Athletics (48-61) — They were bad, and now they've traded off their assets and made themselves unwatchable. But they can do the Rangers a big favor this weekend when they host the first-place, yet reeling, Astros for four games. Next up: Tonight, 9:05 p.m., vs. Houston Astros.