A look at the Wild Wild West
This is the beginning of what I hope to be a reoccurring series here on North West Sports Beat. Every week and a half or so, I’ll take you guys on a journey into the American League West and break down major developments with each rival of our Seattle Mariners.
As this is my first crack at it, any comments would be much obliged.
- Texas Rangers: 19-10
- Oakland Athletics: 15-14 (4 GB)
- Seattle Mariners: 14-17 (6 GB)
- Los Angeles Angels: 13-17 (6.5 GB)
Texas Rangers Offense Reigns Supreme
Starting May off 2-4, the Rangers stormed into Baltimore Monday, defeating the Orioles 14-3. Despite going 4-6 over their last 10 games, Texas is still sitting pretty atop the AL West. Their 11-5 record on the road is the best in the West.
Offense remains a strength for the current AL West leader. They have outscored opponents 160-102, by far the best mark in the division. Adrian Beltre’s health remains in flux, but with Michael Young it shouldn’t effect their production.
Josh Hamilton continues to crush the ball, hitting .371 on the season with 10 home runs and 28 RBI. He remains an early favorite for league MVP—and a threat for the triple crown.
On the other side of the ball, the Ranger’s pitching has been surprisingly dominate to start the season. Their 3.25 team ERA is second only to Baltimore in the American League—yes, you read that right, Baltimore. Colby Lewis has been absurdly good in the early going, posting a 2.97 ERA and 6.20 K/BB ratio.
Meanwhile, Yu Darvish (4-1, 2.54 ERA) has suffered some control issues, but seems to be the real deal.
Right now nothing seems to be holding the Rangers back.
Oakland Athletics – Colon Defies Life Itself
If any team’s spot in the standings is bound to change, it has to be Oakland. The Athletics have rode pitching above the .500 mark, but opponents are still outscoring the team 112-97.
Their lineup remains disheveled and weak. Yoenis Cespedes leads the team with 5 home runs, but his average (.245) shows signs of a slump. The pickup of Brandon Inge seems a desperate ploy for defense, while Josh Reddick (.263, 5 home runs, 3 stolen bases) flashes his potential in right. Jemile Weeksremains day-to-day with groin tightness.
Pitching, always a strength for Oakland, remains just that. Brandon McCarthy is continuing his breakout campaign, while Bartolo Colon (3-2, 2.83 ERA) defies everything we know about 38-year old, 265 lb., baseball players.
The A’s recently called up Jarrod Parker—key component in the Trevor Cahill trade—and so far return looks strong.
Los Angeles Angels – Pujols Hits First Homer
A sigh of relief swept across California Sunday, as Albert Pujols hit his first home run of the season—coming after 139 at-bats without one. The Angels are riding a 3-game win streak, and at 7-3 in their last 10, appear ready to dig themselves out of the AL West cellar.
Their offense hasn’t been bad, but Pujols heating up will certainly help the situation. Torii Hunter remains the heart of the team, and Mike Sciocia continues to find inventive ways to get a both Mark Trumbo and Kendry Morales into the lineup.
Though super prospect Mike Trout (.233, 1 home run and 1 stolen base) is adjusting to the MLB, calling him up was a smart move and could energizer this team.
Blazing a trail to the Cy Young award is Jered Weaver. The Angel’s ace threw a no-no last Wednesday, and is 5-0 on the season with a 1.60 ERA and 5.22 K/BB ratio.
Dan Haren, who kicked off the season slow, has looked much more himself lately.
C.J. Wilson—L.A.’s other offseason buy—has dominated to the tune of a 4-2 record this season.
As long as the pitching stays strong, and the offense starts to heat up, the Angels could be climbing the ladder very soon here.