AL West in Review: June 27 - July 4

Both Seattle and Oakland played sub-.500 baseball for the week, while Anaheim and Texas both started to play better. Will that prove to be just a one-week wonder, or a sign of things to come? Take a trip around the division with InsidethePark.com's exclusive AL West in Review!

SEATTLE MARINERS (54-30)

The Mariners were below .500 for the week at 3-4...

Two of the 4 losses came to San Diego, giving the M's their second-consecutive series loss to the last-place Padres in just over a week...

They also split a four-game set with second-place Oakland to maintain a six-game lead in the AL West...

Of the week's three wins, RHP Joel Pineiro garnered two as he once again went 7+ innings in both games, an 8-2 win vs. the Padres and the 13-0 romp over the A's.

He has now gone at least seven innings deep in each of his last five starts...

Like Mike: OF Mike Cameron - usually better known for his defensive accomplishments - has put together a solid year of offensive numbers.

After just 84 games, Cameron has collected 53 RBI's, just 27 shy of his total for all of 2002 and good for third on the team.

This week, he paced the team with nine hits while driving in six. He is still struggling with strikeouts though, with 74 punch-outs already - seven just this week.


OAKLAND ATHLETICS (48-36)

The Athletics went 3-4 on the week.

It was an especially tough week to have a losing record as the team faced their Bay Area rivals, San Francisco, as well as division leading Seattle...

It was the last series for Oakland vs. the Giants this year. The teams split this year's interleague matchup, going 3-3...

The A's could have used the series against the Mariners as a great opportunity to make up ground in the AL West race.

However, the teams remained six games apart after the four-game split...

The two square off again in a two-game stint July 23-24 and still have a total of eight games remaining head to head...

Byrne Marks: OF Eric Byrnes is leaving his mark this season. For those who thought he might just be a flash in the pan, he is now hitting .323 in 72 games - good for sixth in the AL in batting.

He also is fourth in the AL in triples with six and 10th in slugging percentage at .558.

This week, he racked up team-leading numbers in total bases (20), hits (11) and average (.355), and hit one of the team's two homers for the week.

The homerun came in the 5-2 win at San Francisco Sunday as Byrnes hit for the cycle - a feat that many of baseball's all-time greats never even accomplish.


ANAHEIM ANGELS (42-41)

The Angels put together a decent run this week to edge back within 11 1/2 games of division leading Seattle...

Most impressive was their thre game sweep of the previously red hot Los Angeles Dodgers at home.

The Angels outscored L.A. 9-2 in the series...

3B Troy Glaus seemed to get back on track against - of all pitching staffs - the Dodgers, going 4-10 in the series and 8 of 22 (.364) with 5 walks for the week.

He had only four hits in his last 56 at-bats coming into the week...

Lackey Back on Track?: RHP John Lackey picked up two wins this week, bringing his season record up to 6-7.

Despite a sub-.500 record, both wins offered hope Lackey may be finding the groove he displayed during last year's magical run to the World Series.

He pitched 7 1/3 scoreless innings in the series-opener against the Dodgers to start the week. As an encore, the Texas native tossed the first complete-game shutout of his career against the Rangers on Wednesday.

In the two games, he displayed impressive control, issuing just one walk while striking out 11.


TEXAS RANGERS (33-51)

The Rangers' downward spiral slowed down this week, as they posted a 4-3 record...

The win total matches their previous 25 games in which they staggered to a 4-21 record...

With the playoffs so far from reach, the team continued its attempts to trade away salary before the July 31 deadline.

The Rangers dealt OF Carl Everett and his $9.15 million contract to the White Sox for 3 minor leaguers.

Everett had racked up 18 homeruns, 51 RBI and 53 runs scored with the Rangers in 2003...

Other trade rumors involve OF Juan Gonzalez possibly heading to offensively challenged Los Angeles...

Honorable Mench-ion: Second-year OF Kevin Mench draws much less attention than higher profile teammates, such as Alex Rodriguez, Juan Gonzalez, or even fellow up-and-comers Hank Blalock and Mark Teixeira.

However, Mench has put together a decent season within the bounds of what the team is asking of him.

This week, he tallied eight hits, a .333 batting average and seven RBIs. On the year, he is hitting .298 in 112 at-bats.

Should the Rangers successfully deal Gonzalez, Mench would see a drastic increase in playing time.


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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