Pitcher Drew Pomeranz and Catcher Derek Norris, two of this year's best surprises 1/3 into the 2014 season Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Around the West: Houston Astros Have 7 Game Win Streak

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Coming into the season, we all knew the AL West would be a tight race. We are now a third of the way through the season, and things are looking quite strange right now.

The standings aren’t what you think they would be. Here is how the division stands as of this writing:

Team                                   Record      GB   

1. Oakland Athletics      33-22         –

2. LA Angels                     30-24        2.5

3. Texas Rangers            28-27        5.0

4. Seattle Mariners       26-28        6.5

5. Houston Astros         24-32        9.5

 

The Texas Rangers only 1 game over .500? The LA Angels right behind the Oakland Athletics?

When the season began, most expected the Rangers to take the division, leaving the Angels and Athletics to fight for 2nd, with the Mariners potentially up there as well. Boy were they wrong! Then again, that should come of no surprise to Athletics fans, who have proven “experts” wrong for the past two years in a row.

Here’s a list of takeaways we can take from each team.

Houston Astros – An Under the Radar Team

The Houston Astros are playing really good baseball. Yes, I just said that. They currently own the longest active winning streak in the majors, with 7 in a row. Remember in 2012 when the Athletics were supposed to lose 100 games? Well the Houston Astros are supposed to this year, but they just may surprise us. They may not win the AL West, but if they can continue playing good baseball, they may take 4th or even 3rd. I know it’s unlikely, but remember, it was highly unlikely that the Oakland Athletics would win the AL West in 2012 as well.

Seattle Mariners- Too Early to Tell

The Seattle Mariners came into the season as potential contenders, but as of right now it is still too early to tell as to how well they will do. They have been very inconsistent. They have stretches where they do great and look to be climbing in the standings, then they come crashing down and fall back down to .500 or below. They are a good team, but we’ll probably have to wait until the All-Star break to find out whether or not the Seattle Mariners can remain competitive in the AL West.

Texas Rangers- Injuries Prove too Much

The Texas Rangers have suffered a lot of injuries. There was the loss of Derek Holland and Matt Harrison. There was Geovany Soto and Jurickson Profar. More recently there’s Martin Perez and Prince Fielder. Yu Darvish is day to day with neck stiffness. The injury bug seems to love the Texas Rangers, because they are dropping like flies. The fact that the Texas Rangers have a 28-27 record after all of their injuries is an accomplishment. Still, for a team that was supposed to be in 1st, the injuries have proved too much for them.

LA Angels- Finally Performing to Expectations (somewhat)

After two very disappointing seasons from the LA Angels, they seem to have finally found their groove. The Angels find themselves finally playing to expectations, somewhat. The expectations for a team with such a high payroll is always nothing less than winning the World Series, but at this point I think that Angels fans will take it after the way the last two seasons have gone. They may not be in 1st place of the AL West, but they are sure putting up a great fight for it.

Oakland Athletics- Playing Like True Champions

The Oakland Athletics didn’t have the best month in May. They had a couple of losing streaks, but also a couple of winning ones. They go through tough stretches but break out of them big, such as with a 10-0 win over the Tigers or a 9-5 win over the Angels. They have 12 straight months with winning records, dating back to June 2012. They make sure to bounce back from tough games or series, and they play until the very last out. The Athletics never give up, they always come back nicely, and they belong right where they are, in first place.

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