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Oakland A's bound towards .500: AL West reset

The Athletics were the best in the AL West the last two weeks, but remain 10 games under .500.

Billy Burns bounds about on the base paths.
Billy Burns bounds about on the base paths.
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Athletics continue to inch closer to the rest of the division, gaining one game on the AL West. They still have the worst record in the American League, but the lack of dominant teams in the AL means they only trail in the second Wild Card by 7½ games. Meanwhile, the rest of the division hopped along at 7-6:

Standings through June 21
W L GB Since 6/8 RS/G RA/G Place W L Place W L Place W L
Astros 41 30 -- 7-6 4.4 3.9 1st 87 75 2nd 85 77 1st 95 67
Rangers 37 33 3.5 7-6 4.4 4.2 T-3rd 80 82 3rd 82 80 3rd 81 81
Angels 35 35 5.5 7-6 4.0 3.9 2nd 83 79 1st 86 76 4th 80 82
Mariners 32 38 8.5 7-6 3.4 4.1 T-3rd 80 82 4th 81 81 5th 75 87
Athletics 31 41 10.5 8-5 4.4 3.9 5th 77 85 5th 76 86 2nd 85 77
Steamer/ZiPS projection and BaseRuns projection from Fangraphs. PECOTA from Baseball Prospectus.

1st. Houston Astros (41-30, 7-6 since 6/8)

The Astros have been crazily streaky. They started this period by finishing up a seven-game losing streak, and quickly went on a five-game winning streak, including a four-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies. Houston went just 1-2 in games started by Dallas Keuchel, but went 2-1 in games started by Vincent Velasquez, a prospect called up from Double-A to join the Astros rotation on June 10, moving Roberto Hernandez to the bullpen.

The biggest call up, however, was shortstop Carlos Correa, who is already on a tear. Correa is 17-for-56 with three home runs, four doubles, two walks, and 15 strikeouts for a 141 wRC+. He's also 4-for-4 in stolen base attempts.

Brett Oberholtzer may be returning to form since his return from the disabled list. Oberholtzer has been credited with the win in both of his last two starts, including eight innings of shutout ball against the Seattle Mariners and holding the Rockies to three runs in 6⅓ innings at Coors Field.

Jose Altuve has been dealing with hamstring issues since leaving in the second inning on June 12. He has not appeared in a game since leaving the third inning of the June 17 contest in Colorado. Altive is back in the Monday night lineup as the designated hitter against the Los Angeles Angels.

Off the field, the Astros are awaiting the outcome of the investigation into St. Louis Cardinals employees engaging in unauthorized access of Ground Control, Houston's proprietary information management program. Our friends at The Crawfish Boxes have considered some creative punishments for the club that are worth a read.

For their next four series, the Astros will face the Angels, Yankees, Royals, and Red Sox.

Astros results since June 8
Date Opponent Result Astros rec. Div. GB Streak Astros starter Opp. starter
8-Jun at White Sox L 1-3 34-25 +3.0 L5 Lance McCullers Chris Sale
9-Jun at White Sox L 2-4 34-26 +2.0 L6 Dallas Keuchel Carlos Rodon
10-Jun at White Sox L 1-4 34-27 +2.0 L7 Vincent Velasquez Jose Quintana
11-Jun OFF DAY +2.5 OFF DAY
12-Jun vs. Mariners W 10-0 35-27 +2.5 W1 Brett Oberholtzer Felix Hernandez
13-Jun vs. Mariners L 1-8 35-28 +1.5 L1 Collin McHugh Mike Montgomery
14-Jun vs. Mariners W 13-0 36-28 +2.5 W1 Lance McCullers Roenis Elias
15-Jun vs. Rockies W 6-3 37-28 +2.5 W2 Dallas Keuchel Chad Bettis
16-Jun vs. Rockies W 8-5 38-28 +2.5 W3 Vincent Velasquez Chris Rusin
17-Jun at Rockies W 8-4 39-28 +2.5 W4 Brett Oberholtzer Kyle Kendrick
18-Jun at Rockies W 8-4 40-28 +3.5 W5 Collin McHugh David Hale
19-Jun at Mariners L 2-5 40-29 +2.5 L1 Lance McCullers Roenis Elias
20-Jun at Mariners L 3-6 40-30 +2.5 L2 Dallas Keuchel Taijuan Walker
21-Jun at Mariners W 6-2 41-30 +3.5 W1 Vincent Velasquez J.A. Happ

2nd. Texas Rangers (37-33, 7-6 since 6/8)

The Rangers dropped series to the A's and White Sox, but won their series against the Twins and Dodgers. They did well to earn wins against Sonny Gray, Clayton Kershaw, and Chris Sale over the last two weeks.

The Rangers injury train, however, continues, with Kyle Blanks returning from and returning to the disabled list, and Delino DeShields joining him there. Texas does get Ryan Rua back from the 60-day disabled list, however.

Martin Perez began his rehabilitation from Tommy John surgery on June 10 while Matt Harrison continues his rehab from spinal fusion surgery. Derek Holland "is looking at a late July or early August return." Josh Hamilton won't go on rehab for his hamstring injury before June 24.

As for good news, Prince Fielder is showing up all over the American League leaderboard. He is third in batting average (.340), third in on base percentage (.408), and 10th in slugging percentage (.521). Nick Martinez is 10th in ERA (2.77) and has the 10th-fewest home runs per nine innings (0.640). However, Martinez has hit the most batters; his 12 leads Erasmo Ramirez and Jesse Hahn by four.

And oh yeah, Joey Gallo is pretty ridiculous. He hit the fourth-longest home run in the history of the Ballpark in Arlington:

For their next four series, the Rangers face the A's, Blue Jays, Orioles, and Angels.

Rangers results since June 8
Date Opponent Result Rangers rec. Div. GB Streak Rangers starter Opp. starter
9-Jun at A's W 2-1 31-27 2.0 W1 Nick Martinez Sonny Gray
10-Jun at A's L 4-5 31-28 2.0 L1 Yovani Gallaro Jesse Hahn
11-Jun at A's L 0-7 31-29 2.5 L2 Chi Chi Gonzalez Scott Kazmir
12-Jun vs. Twins W 6-2 32-29 2.5 W1 Wandy Rodriguez Tommy Milone
13-Jun vs. Twins W 11-7 33-29 1.5 W2 Colby Lewis Mike Pelfrey
14-Jun vs. Twins L 3-4 33-30 2.5 L1 Nick Martinez Phil Hughes
15-Jun vs. Dodgers W 4-1 34-30 2.5 W1 Yovani Gallaro Carlos Frias
16-Jun vs. Dodgers W 3-2 35-30 2.5 W2 Chi Chi Gonzalez Brett Anderson
17-Jun at Dodgers W 5-4 36-30 2.5 W3 Wandy Rodriguez Clayton Kershaw
18-Jun at Dodgers L 0-1 36-31 3.5 L1 Anthony Ranaudo Zack Greinke
19-Jun at White Sox W 2-1 37-31 2.5 W1 Colby Lewis Chris Sale
20-Jun at White Sox L 2-3 37-32 2.5 L1 Nick Martinez Carlos Rodon
21-Jun at White Sox L 2-3 (11) 37-33 3.5 L2 Yovani Gallaro Jose Quintana

3rd. Los Angeles Angels (35-35, 7-6 since 6/8)

The Angels could only split four games with the Arizona Diamondbacks and six games with the A's. They took two of three from the Rays to get them to 7-6 over the last two weeks.

Pitcher Cory Rasmus, out since spring training with an abdominal surgery, began a rehab assignment in Triple-A on June 18. He'll be a reliever when he returns despite trying to stretch out as a starter over the winter.

Starting pitcher Jered Weaver went on the disabled list with hip inflammation after his start against the A's on June 20. There's no word yet on the severity of the injury, "The concern with hip inflammation is that there could be a tear in the hip joint requiring surgery."

Otherwise, the Angels organization continues to step into public relations messes. The team's ticket sales and marketing czar resigned over comments made to the Orange County Register earlier this month. Then, the team's rookie-level Pioneer League team, the Orem Owlz, came up with one of the more offensive promotional nights you will ever see, "Caucasian Heritage Night," and dropped it amidst the public shaming. In the process, Owlz radio broadcaster Joey Zanaboni resigned in protest of the team's decision not to heed his warnings regarding the event, and Halos Heaven's Turks Teeth wrote a good piece about minor league broadcasts in it wake.

For their next four series, the Angels face the Astros, Mariners, Yankees, and Rangers.

Angels results since June 8
Date Opponent Result Angels rec. Div. GB Streak Angels starter Opp. Starter
9-Jun at Rays W 8-2 29-29 4.0 W1 Matt Shoemaker Nate Karns
10-Jun at Rays L 2-4 29-30 4.0 L1 Jered Weaver Erasmo Ramirez
11-Jun at Rays W 6-2 30-30 3.5 W1 Garrett Richards Alex Colome
12-Jun vs. A's W 5-4 31-30 3.5 W2 Hector Santiago Jesse Chavez
13-Jun vs. A's W 1-0 32-30 2.5 W3 C.J. Wilson Kendall Graveman
14-Jun vs. A's L 1-8 32-31 3.5 L1 Matt Shoemaker Sonny Gray
15-Jun vs. Diamondbacks L 3-7 32-32 4.5 L2 Jered Weaver Robbie Ray
16-Jun vs. Diamondbacks W 4-1 33-32 4.5 W1 Garrett Richards Jeremy Hellickson
17-Jun at Diamondbacks L 2-3 33-33 5.5 L1 Hector Santiago Chase Anderson
18-Jun at Diamondbacks W 7-1 34-33 5.5 W1 C.J. Wilson Allen Webster
19-Jun at A's W 12-7 35-33 4.5 W2 Matt Shoemaker Sonny Gray
20-Jun at A's L 1-4 35-34 4.5 L1 Jered Weaver Jesse Hahn
21-Jun at A's L 2-3 35-35 5.5 L1 Garrett Richards Scott Kazmir

4th. Seattle Mariners (32-38, 7-6 since 6/8)

"Tonight, the Mariners have a chance to go a full two weeks without scoring more than three runs," wrote Lookout Landing's Colin O'Keefe a few games before the Mariners proceeded to get shutout in four times in an eight-game span. The Mariners did manage to score more than three runs five times after that article was written, and they won all five of those contests.

One of those shutouts was a 10-0 loss to the Houston Astros in a game started by Felix Hernandez. It was the worst start of Hernandez's career. He recorded just one out, was charged with an error, gave up two home runs, and was charged with eight earned runs. Rather than dwell on that, Lookout Landing's Jake Mailhot focused on catcher Jesus Sucre's major league debut as a pitcher.

In one of Seattle's low-scoring affairs, the Mariners beat Madison Bumgarner thanks to a sterling bounceback from Felix Hernandez. A sixth-inning single, triple, double combo was enough to score the two runs Hernandez needed to win with eighth scoreless innings, followed by a one-two punch from Charlie Furbush and Carson Smith in the ninth.

The flailing offense, however, will seek guidance from a new source after the Mariners named Edgar Martinez their new hitting coach and reassigned Howard Johnson to other responsibilities.

On the roster front, starter Hisashi Iwakuma began his rehab assignment last Sunday. Lloyd McClendon thinks Iwakuma will need at least three more rehab startsThe Rickie Weeks experiment is over after he was given his release.

For their next four series, the Mariners face the Royals, Angels, Padres, and A's.

Mariners results since June 8
Date Opponent Result Mariners rec. Div. GB Streak Mariners starter Opp. starter
9-Jun at Indians W 3-2 26-32 7.0 W1 Roenis Elias Corey Kluber
10-Jun at Indians W 9-3 27-32 6.0 W2 Taijuan Walker Trevor Bauer
11-Jun at Indians L 0-6 27-33 6.5 L1 J.A. Happ Shaun Marcum
12-Jun at Astros L 0-10 27-34 7.5 L2 Felix Hernandez Brett Oberholtzer
13-Jun at Astros W 8-1 28-34 6.5 W1 Mike Montgomery Collin McHugh
14-Jun at Astros L 0-13 28-35 7.5 L1 Roenis Elias Lance McCullers
15-Jun at Giants W 5-1 29-35 7.5 W1 Taijuan Walker Tim Hudson
16-Jun at Giants L 2-6 29-36 8.5 L1 J.A. Happ Tim Lincecum
17-Jun vs. Giants W 2-0 30-36 8.5 W1 Felix Hernandez Madison Bumgarner
18-Jun vs. Giants L 0-7 30-37 9.5 L1 Mike Montgomery Ryan Vogelsong
19-Jun vs. Astros W 5-2 31-37 8.5 W1 Roenis Elias Lance McCullers
20-Jun vs. Astros W 6-3 32-37 7.5 W2 Taijuan Walker Dallas Keuchel
21-Jun vs. Astros L 2-6 32-38 8.5 L1 J.A. Happ Vincent Velasquez

5th. Oakland Athletics (31-41, 8-5 since 6/8)

The Athletics made progress towards returning to .500 after going 8-5 since their last off day on June 8. They're 17-11 since their nadir of 14-30 on May 22, and they've won six of their last eight games.

Oakland has some mixed news on the injury front. Pat Venditte is on the 15-day disabled list with a right shoulder strain and no, he cannot just pitch left handed because he uses his entire body to pitch. A.J. Griffin was formally optioned to Triple-A Nashville to continue his rehab, but he was recently placed on the minor league disabled list with a sore right shoulder of his own.

On the flip side, both Ike Davis and Edward Mujica were activated from the disabled list. Andy Parrino cleared waivers on Monday and accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Nashville.

For their next four series, the A's face the Rangers, Royals, Rockies, and Mariners.

A's results since June 8
Date Opponent Result A's rec. Div. GB Streak A's starter Opp. Starter
8-Jun OFF DAY 11.0 OFF DAY
9-Jun vs. Rangers L 1-2 23-37 11.0 L4 Sonny Gray Nick Martinez
10-Jun vs. Rangers W 5-4 24-37 10.0 W1 Jesse Hahn Yovani Gallaro
11-Jun vs. Rangers W 7-0 25-37 9.5 W2 Scott Kazmir Chi Chi Gonzalez
12-Jun at Angels L 4-5 25-38 10.5 L1 Jesse Chavez Hector Santiago
13-Jun at Angels L 0-1 25-39 10.5 L2 Kendall Graveman C.J. Wilson
14-Jun at Angels W 8-1 26-39 10.5 W1 Sonny Gray Matt Shoemaker
15-Jun at Padres W 9-1 27-39 10.5 W2 Jesse Hahn Tyson Ross
16-Jun at Padres W 6-5 28-39 10.5 W3 Scott Kazmir Andrew Cashner
17-Jun vs. Padres W 16-2 29-39 10.5 W4 Jesse Chavez Odrisamer Despaigne
18-Jun vs. Padres L 1-3 29-40 11.5 L1 Kendall Graveman Ian Kennedy
19-Jun vs. Angels L 7-12 29-41 11.5 L2 Sonny Gray Matt Shoemaker
20-Jun vs. Angels W 4-1 30-41 10.5 W1 Jesse Hahn Jered Weaver
21-Jun vs. Angels W 3-2 31-41 10.5 W2 Scott Kazmir Garrett Richards