AL West in Review

Ichiro has been on fire (Getty Images)

Another week passes with Seattle and Oakland playing the best ball in the division. Anaheim looks like a shadow of its championship team of 2002 while Texas is the brunt of most of baseball's best jokes these days. InsidethePark.com's Luke Lapinski breaks down the latest happenings with each of the four teams.

SEATTLE MARINERS (51-26)
The Mariners had one of their less stellar weeks of the 2003 season, going 3-3... The week started poorly with the M's losing 2 of 3 to the San Diego Padres, owners of the National League‘s worst record... In the rubber match, RHP Ryan Franklin carried a no-hitter into the 6th inning before SS Donaldo Mendez doubled down the left field line... In all, the Padres scored 3 times, more than enough to get RHP Jake Peavy his 7th win... Just two nights earlier, it was OF Rondell White who played the hero for San Diego, touching up M's reliever Jeff Nelson for a walk off grand slam with two away in the ninth

Gar-anteed: DH Edgar Martinez has been one of the most dependable hitters in baseball throughout his career. Thursday night, he became Seattle's all-time RBI leader as he knocked in the 1,153rd RBI of his career. In doing so, he passed former Mariner Ken Griffey Jr. on Seattle's all-time list. Because of interleague play, Martinez batted just 10 times for the week. However, he made the most of his at-bats, going 4 for 10 with 3 runs scored and 4 RBI. He also drew 4 walks.

OAKLAND ATHLETICS (45-32)
Oakland picked up a 1/2 game on front running Seattle this week, going 4-3... They have now won 10 of 13 to quietly creep back within 6 games of first... They also took 2 of 3 from Bay Area rival San Fransisco... On Friday, they travel to Pacific Bell Park for the second and final series against the Giants this year.

Tejada to Handle: Perhaps the biggest catalyst in Oakland's recent run has been the resurgence of SS Miguel Tejada. Last week, he hit a powerful .370 with 3 HR's and 11 RBI's, leading the team in each category for the week. He also showed patience at the plate, grabbing 5 walks while striking out just once. For all his struggles early in the year, he has brought up his season numbers to a respectable 15 HR's, 43 runs scored, and 53 RBI's. His season average is still a dismal .244 but has risen rapidly of late.

ANAHEIM ANGELS (37-39)
The Angels went 2-4 on the week, dropping them back below the .500 mark for the season... They are now 13.5 games behind first-place Seattle... If they are to make a run at defending their World Series title of a year ago, they need to get hot very soon... They have now lost 8 of 11 and play host to one of baseball's hottest teams - the Los Angeles Dodgers - starting Friday night... To make matters worse, the team lost DH Brad Fullmer for the year in Thursday's loss to the Mariners when he tore up his right knee stepping on the first base bag.

Man or Glaus?: 3B Troy Glaus has been in a terrible hitting slump of late. For the week, he hit just .059 (1 of 17) while striking out 6 times. He has just 2 hits since June 8, a run which has seen him go 2 for 40 with just 1 RBI and 12 K's. His season average has dipped to .256. For the Angels to have any chance of getting back on track, they need the power and relative consistency that Glaus normally brings to the lineup.

TEXAS RANGERS (29-48)
The Rangers have been on an absolutely horrific run over the last month, winning just 4 of their last 25 games... For the week, they were 2-5... The most recent loss was a 13-0 blowout at the hands of division rival Oakland at home... The loss dropped Texas to 5 games below .500 in Arlington this year... Only Detroit and Tampa Bay have worse home records in the AL... Very much had been up in the air this week as OF Juan Gonzalez has taken his time deciding whether or not to accept the trade that would send him to Montreal... The team has been playing without him in the lineup and he ultimately decided to exercise his no-trade clause Friday and remain with the Rangers.

On the Mark: The potential upside of Mark Teixeira is one of the reasons that the Rangers were shopping Gonzalez. Teixeira hit .308 for the week while driving in 5. For the year, he has 38 RBI to go with 10 HR's. He has been overshadowed by 3B Hank Blalock most of the year in terms of up and coming players. However, those inside the organization see Teixeira as a future star as well. With so much young talent offensively, the team will have a difficult time finding adequate playing time for everyone.


Luke Lapinski lives in Tempe, AZ and attends the Arizona State University, where he hosts the radio show, "The Mad UnderGrads." He once ate a hot dog from the Kingdome and survived to tell about it. Luke enjoys reading feedback, and can be reached at thebigll@hotmail.com.

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