By Allyus Fritz
We’ve finally come to the last division breakdown: the AL West. A division that’s full of star power and intrigue, it will be a three-horse race the rest of the way. Since I always seem to root for the underdog, I sincerely hope the Athletics can hold on to the lead. The fans at last year’s playoff home games for Oakland were incredible, despite the fact that only Tampa Bay has a worse stadium. Can Texas or Los Angeles spoil the parade?
Here’s the AL West breakdown.
1. Oakland Athletics (53-37)
Oakland just won’t go away. Just like the Orioles, it turns out that the Athletics making the playoffs in 2012 wasn’t a fluke. Young talent has them atop the division looking down at the big spenders. Josh Donaldson was the biggest all-star snub this season. Donaldson is batting .319 with 15 homers and 58 RBI’s. That should have been enough for him to get some love. Instead the only player traveling to New York for the mid-summer classic from Oakland will be Bartolo Colon, who may or may not still be on steroids.
2. Texas Rangers (52-37) 0.5 GB
Derek Holland is pitching like the Derek Holland of the 2011 playoffs. Holland kicking it in to high gear, combined with Yu Darvish’s league leading 157 strikeouts makes for a powerful head to the rotation. We all know the Rangers are good and can make the playoffs. We’ll see if they do.
3. Los Angeles Angels (43-45) 9 GB
I don’t think L.A. has any chance of winning the division. The chance of L.A. winning a wild card spot is not that remote (6 GB). I’m not ready to give up yet. The Angels have won 8 of their last 10 games. Mike Trout is mashing again. Isn’t it poetic justice that the Angels only all-star selection is Trout considering they drafted him? Didn’t have to throw cash at Trout. Anyway, Josh Hamilton has started producing (according to some people he is doing better because he started using chewing tobacco again). If Albert Pujols can pull it together and start acting like his former self then this team has a chance to make a serious run. C’mon Albert. I mean, .247… seriously? Oh, and their pitching has been horrendous. That will have to get better.
Let’s wait until next year
4. Seattle Mariners (40-49) 12.5 GB
A year that looked promising has now turned in to a normal year for the Mariners. Mike Zunino and many other high draft picks are now in the majors, giving us the impression that it will take at least one more season for Seattle to be credible again. One positive for Seattle is that Hisashi Iwakuma will join Felix Hernandez at the All-Star game and deservedly so. Look for the front office to deal Raul Ibanez before the trade deadline.
5. Houston Astros (32-57) 20.5 GB
It’s a shame to see Minute Maid Park so empty and without hope. When the Killer B’s were swinging the bats, Houston was an intimidating atmosphere. The total rebuilding effort is in full swing. It will be a few years before Houston gets out of last place in this division.