Home » Blog » AL West: Going around the horn

AL West: Going around the horn

The American League West was supposed to be a highly competitive division coming into the 2015 Major League Baseball campaign. It has proven to be exactly that, although not in the order many expected. The Houston Astros have been leading from jump street, while the Oakland Athletics have been a last-place outfit all year despite a terrific run differential.

Let’s take a look at each team and see where each sits as we approach the All-Star break.

Houston Astros (46-34)

Houston is an odd team. The Astros hit for a ton of power but can’t hit for any kind of average outside of All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve. Chris Carter, George Springer, Evan Gattis and Luis Valbuena all provide the power, however, leading Houston to its best start in years.

On the pitching side, it has been all about Dallas Kuechel and a great bullpen. The addition of Luke Gregorson has really stabilized matters late in games, and has helped the Astros win tight ballgames. Kuechel continues to lead a middling staff with his excellent season, posting 10 wins, 102 strikeouts and a 2.03 ERA. If Keuchel can continue this dominance, the Astros have a real chance to win the West.

Los Angeles Angels (41-38)

Forget what is going on when the game is being played in Los Angeles. Right now, there is one of the more ridiculous stories of the season breaking out in the front office. Angels (former) general manager Jerry Dipoto was apparently at odds with manager Mike Scioscia about the team’s direction. This reportedly led to Dipoto simply packing up his office and leaving, giving nothing of notice. Bill Stoneman will take over as the interim general manager, per ESPN.

Scioscia says that despite the circus, his team remains worried only about the task at hand, according to the piece:

“I think our team is pretty focused,” Scioscia said before Wednesday’s game. “I think you can see that, so I don’t know if there is anything along those lines, as far as a distraction. I think we’ve been playing well on the field, and hopefully that’s our focus.”

Texas Rangers (40-39)

The Rangers have been one of the more remarkable stories of the first half. Texas lost starting pitcher and ace Yu Darvish at the beginning of spring training to a torn UCL, requiring Tommy John surgery. Everyone buried the Rangers, but apparently those predictions were too hasty. Texas has not been great by any means, but sits only 5.5 games out of first place.

Somehow, Texas is 25-20 on the road, playing well enough to keep itself in the race into July.

Seattle Mariners (36-42)

With the Mariners, it is pretty simple. Nelson Cruz has been great, Kyle Seager has been pretty good, and everyone else can’t hit water if they fell out of a boat in the Pacific. Seattle just can’t find a way to score, with much of the blame rightfully falling on the shoulders of Robinson Cano. To this point, Cano is batting .247 with five home run and 27 RBI.

If the Mariners are going to make a run, Cano needs to lead the charge alongside Cruz and Seager.

Oakland Athletics (36-45)

Oakland has a very solid rotation led by Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir and Jesse Chavez. It has one of the more powerful lineups in baseball with Billy Burns and Ben Zobrist at the top, following by Stephen Vogt and Josh Reddick. Somehow, the A’s are absolutely terrible and 10.5 games out of first place.

How is that possible? The bullpen is the worst in the American League, giving up leads like it is scared to win. Unfortunately for Oakland fans, a turnaround large enough to snag a playoff spot is likely out of the question with that group hanging around.

  • 100%