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Oakland A's in 4th place: AL West reset

Three games against the Minnesota Twins was enough to move the Athletics in to fourth place on percentage points for the first time since June 25. Can they keep the momentum going?

Jake Smolinski was a big part of last weekend's wins against the Minnesota Twins.
Jake Smolinski was a big part of last weekend's wins against the Minnesota Twins.
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

In taking two out of three from the Minnesota Twins, the Oakland Athletics picked up a game on the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers who each lost two of three, held serve with the Houston Astros, and slipped half a game from the league-leading Los Angeles Angels. The next step for the A's is to gain the 1½ games on Texas and move into third place. To reach first place, they'll need to gain one game on first for every 7.5 they play.

Standings through July 19
W L GB Since 7/17 RS/G RA/G Place W L Place W L Place W L
Angels 50 40 -- 2-0 4.1 3.7 1st 88 74 1st 88 74 2nd 88 74
Astros 51 43 1.0 2-1 4.4 3.8 2nd 85 77 2nd 85 77 1st 91 71
Rangers 43 48 7.5 1-2 4.2 4.5 5th 76 86 T-3rd 78 84 4th 76 86
Athletics 43 51 9.0 2-1 4.3 3.8 4th 78 84 T-3rd 78 84 3rd 83 79
Mariners 42 50 9.0 1-2 3.5 4.0 3rd 79 83 5th 76 86 5th 75 87
Steamer/ZiPS projection and BaseRuns projection from Fangraphs. PECOTA from Baseball Prospectus.

On the Wild Card front, taking two out of three from the Twins allowed the A's to gain a game on the first Wild Card and remain eight games back of second Wild Card Houston. Oakland is within one game of both the Red Sox and White Sox.

Now a quick look at the weekend's stories around the AL West:

1. Los Angeles Angels (50-40, 2-0 since 7/17)

The Angels have kept the Boston Red Sox off the board entirely this weekend with some help from Mother Nature. Mike Trout walked off Friday's game with a solo home run and Kole Calhoun homered twice in their Saturday 3-0 win over Boston. Sunday's scheduled ESPN Sunday Night Baseball game was postponed to Monday as the first half of a day-night doubleheader.

Angels results since July 17
Date Opponent Result Record Div. GB Streak Angels starter Opp. starter
17-Jul vs Red Sox W 1-0 49-40 +0.5 W2 C.J. Wilson Wade Miley
18-Jul vs Red Sox W 3-0 50-40 +1.5 W3 Garrett Richards Rick Porcello
19-Jul vs Red Sox POSTPONED +1.0 POSTPONED TO 7/20

The Angels were actually scheduled for an unusual wraparound four-game series against the Boston Red Sox, so they'll finish the last two games Monday before hosting the Twins for three games and the Rangers for three more.

2. Houston Astros (51-42, 2-1 since 7/17)

The Astros reactivated Scott Feldman from the disabled list to start against the Texas Rangers in Saturday's game, which they lost. However, that game sparked a benches clearing incident when Hank Conger objected to Rougned Odor dawdling outside the batter's box:

There were no ejections, but perhaps a proper rivalry has formed. By taking two of three from the Rangers, the Astros ended a streak of consecutive losing series at three.

Astros results since July 17
Date Opponent Result Record Div. GB Streak Astros starter Opp. starter
17-Jul vs Rangers W 3-2 50-42 0.5 W1 Collin McHugh Martin Perez
18-Jul vs Rangers L 6-7 50-43 1.5 L1 Scott Feldman Colby Lewis
19-Jul vs Rangers W 10-0 51-43 1.0 W1 Dallas Keuchel Yovani Gallardo

The Astros host the Boston Red Sox for three games beginning Tuesday and then travel to Kansas City to face the Royals for three.

3. Texas Rangers (43-38, 1-2 since 7/17)

Texas activated Martin Perez from the disabled list and started him for Friday's 2-3 loss against Houston. However, the Rangers had to place potential trade candidate Carlos Corporan on the disabled list before that game with a sprained thumb incurred during a workout.

Rangers results since July 17
Date Opponent Result Record Div. GB Streak Rangers starter Opp. starter
17-Jul at Astros L 2-3 42-47 7.0 L3 Martin Perez Collin McHugh
18-Jul at Astros W 7-6 43-47 7.0 W1 Colby Lewis Scott Feldman
19-Jul at Astros L 0-10 43-48 7.5 L1 Yovani Gallardo Dallas Keuchel

Starting pitcher Nick Martinez will be activated Monday to return to the rotation and move Wandy Rodriguez to the bullpen. He'll face the Colorado Rockies in the first of three games in Denver. After a Thursday off day, the Rangers wrap up the week with three games at Angels Stadium in Anaheim.

4. Oakland A's (43-51, 2-1 since 7/17)

Bob Melvin tied Ken Macha for the third-most wins as a manager in Oakland history (368). He trails Art Howe (600) and Tony La Russa (798). The A's are 29-21 (.580) since the start of May 23, which is the second best mark in the American League over that span, though it is only short of the Angels (28-20) on percentage points (.583).

Sonny Gray gets a pass for a bad start on Friday. Aces all get one. Scott Kazmir and Jesse Chavez both picked up the team, with the A's scratching out a comeback win after a ninth inning blown save on Saturday and a 14-1 demolition of the Twins on Sunday.

A's results since July 17
Date Opponent Result Record Div. GB Streak A's starter Opp. starter
17-Jul vs Twins L 0-5 41-51 9.5 L1 Sonny Gray Ervin Santana
18-Jul vs Twins W 3-2 (10) 42-51 9.5 W1 Scott Kazmir Phil Hughes
19-Jul vs Twins W 14-1 43-51 9.0 W2 Jesse Chavez Tommy Milone

The A's welcome back Josh Donaldson and host the Toronto Blue Jays for three games beginning Tuesday.

After that, the A's head across the bay to AT&T Park for three games against the San Francisco Giants.

5. Seattle Mariners (42-50, 1-2 since 7/17)

The Seattle Mariners could only score eight runs and conceded nine runs in their weekend trip to the Bronx to face the Yankees. All three games were one run games. Seattle committed the sin of losing a Felix Hernandez start and fell to last place in the American League.

This is Jack Zduriencik's seventh season as Seattle's general manager, and he hasn't reached the promised land. The team he put together this year hasn't fared well and unlike the A's, there's no signs (like BaseRuns record) that it's just bad luck causing the performance that has them in the basement of the American League. Lookout Landing's Nathan Bishop believes this is Jack Z's last chance:

The 2009-2014 Mariners were Jack Zduriencik's countdown and 2015 his zero mark. At zero the expectation, nay the demand should have been to have arrived at legitimate pennant contention. Rather the team finds itself, again, needing a miracle to simply make September worth watching. The front office is living on borrowed time and the slow, ponderous movements of corporate thinkology. Every game from now until Game 162 is ticking further and further away from the moment when this team's success was supposed to be a reality.

Mariners results since July 17
Date Opponent Result Record Div. GB Streak Mariners starter Opp. starter
17-Jul at Yankees L 3-4 41-49 8.5 L2 Mike Montgomery Masahiro Tanaka
18-Jul at Yankees W 4-3 42-49 8.5 W1 Hisashi Iwakuma Michael Pineda
19-Jul at Yankees L 1-2 42-50 9.0 L1 Felix Hernandez CC Sabathia

Beginning Monday, Seattle travels from New York to Detroit for four games against the Tigers. They wrap up their week with three games at home against the Toronto Blue Jays.