You're never going to believe this, but I have another new weekly feature I want to try out. This new endeavor is a chance for us to take a weekly look at what the other chumps in the AL West have been up to. In other words, it is a chance for me to make fun of the other teams in the division. Who could possibly be against that.
To kick off this feature, I thought it would be fun to take a look at the graphic above that shows the division-winning odds of each team entering the season. Obviously there is a lot of season left to play, but I imagine that some of those pie slices would be distributed very differently. Those pre-season prognosticators largely assumed that Texas was pretty much a mortal lock to win the AL West, with the exception of that minority of folks who just wanted to be different so they picked the A's. The Angels? Yeah, not so much (and the Mariners? Ha!).
Yet here we are 40+ games into the season and there is basically a three-way tie atop the division. No team is running away with the division and no team is truly out of it (except for the Mariners, this will be a recurring theme). It is really going to come down to which team can best address their fatal flaw (or flaws). The Rangers are injury-riddled and have suspect pitching. The A's can't hit and are struggling mightily on defense. The Angels, well, we know all about their pitiful lineup and their ulcer-inducing bullpen.
With 120 games left, it should be one wild ride to watch. Until then, let's get to the meat of this feature and get the latest scoop on the rival squads.
Texas Rangers - The Angels are probably going to wish they had gotten a little separation from the Rangers when they had a chance. The entire Ranger starting outfield (and really the heart of their lineup) has been on the disabled list the last few weeks, but now both Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz are embarking on rehab stints, so the Rangers are a week or two away from getting a real shot in the arm. The good news is that neither of them can pitch, so they aren't going to be able to help out the Ranger rotation which is showing some signs of becoming a liability now that Derek Holland and Matt Harrison are cooling off from their hot starts and Alexi Ogando is dealing with health issues.
Oakland Athletics - It really isn't fair how much awesome pitching the A's have at their disposal. While he hit the DL weeks ago, Oakland found out recently that SP Dallas Braden is going to need season-ending surgery. Losing a good starter like that would hurt most teams, but the A's might have actually gotten better since Tyson Ross has filled in for Braden so very well. What really makes me jealous though is that their big off-season trade acquisition in the outfield, David DeJesus, is finally getting hot after a wretched start to the year. Let's hope Vernon Wells is taking notes from the disabled list.
Seattle Mariners - Two weeks ago, I would have written about how surprised I was that the Mariners were hanging tough in the division, hovering right around .500... but then Brandon League happened. If you really want to make yourself better about the current state of the Angel blowpen, just look at League's last week in which he, the supposed closer, took the loss in four consecutive appearances, including his first three blown saves of the season. On the bright side, at least he wears his hat straight, so he has that going for him.