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2012 MLB Analysis: Know Your Enemy AL West

Trade Deadline Edition

The field of the American League West is changing drastically. As the Rangers slide, the Angels and A’s push valiantly on. Even the M’s have been surging, going 13-6 in the second half and winning six straight.

The division has had even more of a shakeup since the passing of the trade deadline.

Here’s a summary of where things stand at this point in time, with a look at where they could go in the future.

Current Standings

  • Texas Rangers: 59-43
  • Los Angeles Angels: 57-47 (3 GB)
  • Oakland Athletics: 56-47 (3.5 GB)
  • Seattle Mariners: 49-57 (12.5)

The Enemies

Texas Rangers- Rangers land consolation prize

It’s been a rough week for Texas Rangers pitchers.

Undergoing surgery to repair his forearm, Colby Lewis (6-6, 3.43 ERA) will be out for the rest of the season. A few days later it was announced Neftali Feliz (closer converted to starter) will undergo Tommy John surgery and also sit out the rest of the season.

Down two starters—and desperate to keep pace with the Angels—the Rangers acquired starting pitcher Ryan Dempster from the Chicago Cubs. Dempster’s 2.25 ERA was the second best in the National League before his move.

At this point, things look bad for the AL West leading Rangers. The offense—their greatest asset—has been slumping, posting a second half team OPS.

Josh Hamilton started June with 21 home runs, and he’s hit just 8 since.

81 points lower than their first half mark. Josh Hamilton started June with 21 home runs, and he’s hit just 8 since. Not to mention continued disappointing play by Mike Napoli and Michael Young.

Now they had a 35-year old Dempster—who’s never pitched out of the NL—and think that he can right the ship?

Things are going south in Texas, and if they don’t fix the problems soon they could be missing the playoffs.

Los Angeles Angels- On the rise

Fed up with the AL West sewer, the Angels have made a huge push towards October. They’re sitting pretty behind the Rangers, and may be the biggest winners of the trade deadline.

With disappointing seasons from Dan Haren and Ervin Santana, the Angels went and landed the best available starter at the deadline: Zack Greinke.

Greinke joined his new club with a 9-3 record, a perfect 2012 record at home and the acclaim of starting three games in a row this season—the first time it had been done in 95 years. In his Angels debut he went seven strong, giving up two earned runs and striking out eight, but was eventually awarded the loss.

None the less, the Angels now feature the best rotation in baseball.

Offensively, their lineup keeps getting better. Albert Pujols continues to look like himself, while Mark Trumbo and Mike Trout continue to lead MVP discussions.

Ryan Dempster

Dempster’s 2.25 ERA was the second best in the NL.

They’re still in second place, but I have the feeling by the next time I do one of these their standing will be drastically different.

Oakland Athletics- Stay pat and stayed hot

Looking to remain the hottest team in baseball, the Oakland Athletics had a great trade deadline by doing nothing.

Since June 12th, the A’s are 30-12. In that time they’ve lost just two series, while sweeping twice—including a series against the New York Yankees.

Oakland continues to win with pitching, sporting an AL best 3.45 team ERA. They’ve relied heavily on the breakout campaigns of rookies Tommy Milone and Jarrod Parker (combined 3.53 ERA). They even have the luxury of reinforcements, coming in the form of returning pitchers Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson.

With that said, their lineup has been surprisingly formidable.

Josh Reddick, Chris Carter and Yoenis Cespedes have been the West’s most powerful trio, sporting a combined slugging percentage of .572.

By no way are the A’s a perfect team. Outside of their middle-of-the-order trio, that lineup is pretty weak. The infield has been dreadful—excluding Carter, the highest batting average is Jemile Week’s .218. However, they continue to overcome their deficits.

If they keep pitching, playing defense and hitting when it counts the A’s could be playing October ball for the first time since 2006.

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