One week in from the All-Star break, and the American League West is turning in to one of the more exciting divisions.Houston is still in first, but some impressive performances from Oakland and Los Angeles Have made the West must-see baseball. Here is what is happening in this crazy division.
An emotional night in Los Angeles last Friday as the Angels played their fist home game since the loss of teammate Tyler Skaggs. All of the Angels players and staff wore #45 jerseys to honor Tyler, and Skaggs mother threw out the ceremonial first pitch, a perfect strike. Tyler Cole and Felix Pena then combined to no-hit the Seattle Mariners, the 11th in the Angels history. Cole threw two innings of perfect ball, striking out two. Pena pitched the final seven innings, giving up only one walk while striking out six. The Mariners never hit the ball hard, hitting 13 ground balls in the loss. Mike Trout belted a home run and had six RBIs. After the game, the players took off and laid their jerseys around the pitcher’s mound. It was the perfect way to honor their teammate.
Oakland won six in a row before losing to the Twins on Thursday. With the winning streak, the Athletics have moved in to a tie for the second Wild Card spot with Tampa Bay. In his first appearance since being traded, Homer Bailey threw six innings, giving up only two runs and seven hits striking out six against the Mariners on Wednesday. In the loss to the Twins, Mike Fiers was great again giving up three runs in 6.1 innings. The offense has been on fire as Oakland has scored 43 runs in six games.
Player of the Week
The Astros Gerrit Cole struck out 24 batters in his two appearances this week. He struck out 13 against Texas in a no-decision, then struck out 11 against the Angels in the win. The right-hander has 194 strikeouts for the season, leading the Majors.
Oakland continues their weekend series against the Twins. This is a critical series for both teams. Cleveland is catching up to the Twins in the Central, while Oakland looks to gain ground on the Astros, and pad their Wild Card position. Texas travels to Houston and will face Justin Verlander on Friday. On a four-game losing streak, the Rangers need to win this series to stay alive in the Wild Card standings. Los Angeles travels to Seattle, looking to get back on their winning streak. Mike Trout is back in the lineup, and the Angels have been one of the hottest teams since coming off the break.
1. Houston Astros – Still in the lead, but will need another starting pitcher at the trade deadline. Madison Bumgarner could fit in nicely.
2. Oakland Athletics – As stated above, 43 runs in their last six games. Look for them to continue buying after trading for Homer Bailey.
3. Los Angeles Angels – Split the series with Houston after sweeping the Mariners. Another team who could be buyers if they keep winning, or could stay put.
4. Texas Rangers – A four game losing streak sees them slipping in the standings. Still only 4.5 games back of the second spot, but that hasn’t stopped talk of them possibly trading Cy Young candidate Mike Minor.
5. Seattle Mariners – The selling if pieces will continue as the Mariners embark on a rebuild.
Featured image courtesy of The Athletic
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