Raise your hand if you had the A’s as buyers and not sellers at the trade deadline … Liar.
Honestly, did anyone really think that the AL West could potentially field THREE teams in the playoffs this year? I guess people were too concerned about the AL East, huh?
Since the All-Star break, the Rangers have won series against the Mariners and the Red Sox, but lost 2 of 3 to the Angels. Not a lot seems to be going right for the Rangers, whose pitching staff has been bit by the injury bug and offense is just puttering along. Well, not a lot except that they some how seem to keep a 5+ game lead in their division.
The Rangers’ pitching staff also just recently took a big blow when their Opening Day starter, Colby Lewis, would be returning to the DL with a forearm injury that would require season ending surgery. Roy Oswalt, who was signed with the Rangers back in May, was skipped from his most recent scheduled start due to lower back stiffness. However, Derek Holland, in his 4th outing since returning from the DL, had a great night against the Red Sox, pitching 7 2/3 innings and striking out 7. If Holland can somehow replicated his 2011 2nd half numbers, it would greatly help out this depleted pitching staff.
As the trade deadline approaches, expect the Rangers to acquire a starting pitcher. With a pretty deep farm system, it’s really up to the Rangers on what they’re willing to give up for one, whether it’s Zack Greinke, Josh Johnson or (maybe) James Shields.
For more on the Texas Rangers, visit Big Game Claws.
Los Angeles Angels
The Angels just can’t seem to make up any ground against the Rangers, but are still holding steady atop the Wild Card standings. Since the All-Star break, the Angels have won series against the Rangers and the Royals. However, they went 2-5 in their series against the Yankees and Detroit, causing them to lose a little ground in the AL West.
Rookie sensation Mike Trout continues to be turning heads across baseball, hitting an impressive .413 with an OPS of 1.311 for the month of July. It’s pretty safe to say that Trout has been the spark the Angels needed to finally get things going. To go along with Trout’s dominance, Albert Pujols has seemingly returned to his regular self, hitting .300 for the month of July with 6 home runs. Pujols has been dealing with an elbow injury after getting hit by a pitch on Tuesday, but with x-rays coming back negative, it seems he should be returning to the lineup sooner as opposed to later.
Like the Rangers, the Angels also have a few holes in their starting rotation. But unlike the Rangers, they definitely don’t have the prospect depth to really make a run at one of the big name starting pitchers out there. It’s expected that they will more than likely have to look within their own organization to solidify their pitching staff.
And now for the team that everyone’s talking about … As I’ve said all year, the A’s baffle me. At times, they seem like they’re one of the best teams in baseball and others they are simply dreadful. Going 10-2 since the All Star Break (including a sweeps of the Twins and Yankees), seems we’re getting a good look at the “one of the best teams in baseball” version.
It was never the A’s pitching that would keep the team from winning, it was the lackluster offense. I think it’s safe to say that with 6 games of at least 5 runs scored (including a 16-0 affair in Toronto) since the All Star Break this offense may have found its groove. It’s hard to say if they can keep up this ridiculous pace, but it should be fun to watch.
After losing out on Hanley Ramirez, the A’s are still looking for help at shortstop. Several options include the Blue Jays’ Yunel Escobar, the Padres’ Chase Headley and the Diamondbacks’ Stephen Drew.
For more on the Oakland Athletics, visit Oaktown Breakdown.
Last but not least, the Mariners. Well, the boys in Seattle are definitely in sell mode as they sit 16 games back in the AL West and 10.5 games in the Wild Card standings.
It’s safe to say the Mariners shocked the world when they traded Ichiro Suzuki to the Yankees this past week. (Seriously, was anyone not floored by this news?) In return, the Mariners received RHP DJ Mitchell and RHP Danny Farquhar along with cash considerations.
Look for the Mariners to look to trade away a few more veterans as the trade deadline approaches as the team tries to get younger. With a lot of the league looking for pitching help, the most likely trades would probably involve starting pitchers Kevin Millwood or Jason Vargas or even reliever Brandon League.
For more on the Seattle Mariners, visit Needle Ball.