MLB News Update
1. Oakland Athletics (63-45), 2. Texas Rangers (60-49), 3. Seattle Mariners (50-58), 4. Los Angeles Angels (49-58),
As of August 2, 2013
The Oakland Athletics look to continue growing their lead in the American League West.
Now sixteen games over .500 at home this year, the Athletics are hoping to wrap up their 10 game home stand by winning a series with the Texas Rangers this weekend. The teams are separated by 3.5 games in the standings and Texas has won six of the 10 meetings between the two teams thus far. The Athletics are coming off losing two of three to a bad Toronto Blue Jays club where they saw their offense dry up the last two days. Josh Donaldson saw his batting average drop from .318 at the beginning of July, to .297 as we enter the month of August. While no one expected Donaldson to continue to produce at that rate, they’ll need his bat in the lineup if players like Yeonis Cespedes continue to be hit or miss. Jed Lowrie has been one of the hottest bats in the lineup of late and has lifted his average all the way up to .293. The veteran infielder has 11 hits in his last six games. A.J. Griffin has hit a rut on the mound, allowing 11 earned runs in his last three starts. Jarrod Parker was lit up in his last start as well, allowing six earned runs and seven walks to the Angels. Oakland will travel to Cincinnati for two midweek games with the Reds after they finish their series with the Rangers.
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Texas has picked up some ground with their four game winning streak and Yu Darvish was dominant on Thursday against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Darvish hurled seven shutout innings, striking out 14 and walking none in the 7-1 victory. A.J. Pierzynski had three hits in the game, including a home run, as he continues to be productive in the middle of that Texas lineup. The Rangers rebounded from a sweep at the hands of the Cleveland Indians last week by taking three straight from the Angels. Now they’ve got a great opportunity to move even closer to the division lead with three games against Oakland this weekend before they travel to Los Angeles to take on the Angels again, and then to Houston to take on the lowly Astros. Texas is still waiting to find out if they’re going to lose outfielder Nelson Cruz to this Biogensis scandal. It would be a huge hit to their lineup and one that they might not be able to overcome offensively.
The Seattle Mariners would like to forget all about their three game trip to Boston this week. They were swept by the Red Sox, losing Thursday night’s game after leading 7-1 in the eighth inning and then watching Boston score six times in the ninth to win it. Yoervis Medina appeared to have Jonny Gomes struck out to end the ball game, but he didn’t get the call. Gomes responded with a single up the middle that tied the game before the Red Sox eventually won it. Tom Wilhelmsen was awful, failing to record an out, walking two, surrendering two hits and four runs. Felix Hernandez was masterful yet again, throwing seven innings, walking two, striking out eight, and allowing just one earned run. It’s baffling just how little support this guy has gotten throughout his career and how good of a pitcher he is. Nick Franklin has just one hit in his last 16 at bats.
It looks like it’s about time to say it’s officially over for the Angels. They’re 10.5 games out in the Wild Card race and 13.5 out in the division and they’ve shown no signs of being able to put together a run that will get them back in this thing. They’re now 3-7 in their last 10 games and if not for Mike Trout, I can’t imagine how bad this baseball team would be. They had lost three of four to Oakland and were swept by Texas before finally getting back in the win column behind Garrett Richards yesterday. The right-hander tossed seven solid innings and has been effective in his two starts since rejoining the rotation, allowing just two earned runs in three innings. Mark Trumbo continued his solid year by hitting his 24th home run in the win over the Blue Jays. There’s still no word of whether or not Albert Pujols will be able to return this season from his torn plantar fascia in his left foot.
Now 36-71 on the season, the Astros are an incredible 35 games under .500 and have won just six times over the last month. With Bud Norris traded to the Baltimore Orioles at the deadline the Astros will get a longer look at Jarred Cosart in the rotation. The youngster has posted a 0.86 ERA through 21 innings thus far, but he’s walked more batters than he’s struck out. If he can harness his stuff and find his location, he might be a legitimate answer at the top of this rotation for this club. Jose Altuve and Jason Castro have had solid offensive seasons at positions you normally don’t get great production from, but beyond that the Astros just don’t have anything in this lineup right now. Brett Wallace has been a pretty big disappointment this season and Carlos Pena is about on his last leg. Houston will travel to Minnesota this weekend before returning home to host the Red Sox next week.