AL West Week in Review

The American League West has rounded the first corner of the 2005 season, amidst mediocre pitching and downright lousy offense. Though no team has established itself as the class of the league, the Angels are in first place so far and that should count for something. It doesn't, though, because they aren't really that good, either. Here's a wrap-up of the last week of action in the AL West.

LA Angels of Anaheim - 23-17 overall, 4-2 last week

Offense: The Angels beat up on the middle of the Central division last week, returning the favor to the Indians and Tigers teams that punished them the week prior. Garrett Anderson (.350, 5 RBI) Darin Erstad (.318) and second baseman Adam Kennedy (.333 BA) led the charge. The Angels are suffering from a total lack of power, hitting only one home run in seven games, and continue to strike out three times as often as the walk (11 BB, 36 SO) After a solid week before, Steve Finley lapsed back into his prolonged slump, going just 3-13 for the week, but raising his average above the .200 mark for the first time all year (.202) Highly-touted rookie Dallas McPherson has only one home run this season while former Angel third baseman Troy Glaus is leading the NL with 12.

Pitching: Angels' pitchers had another solid week with a 3.81 staff ERA. Bartolo Colon had two great outings, resulting in one win (5-3) and lowering his season ERA to 2.67, and Paul Bryd threw a 3-hit shutout gem against the Indians. In fact, all of the Angels starters save rookie Ervin Santana had solid outings last week with no starter above a 4.40 ERA for the season. The bullpen continues to dominate with a staff ERA of under 3.00, behind the reliable Scot Shields (1.19 ERA, 11.91 K/9) and Francisco Rodriguez (2.24 ERA, 12.94 K/9, 2 walks all season).

Texas Rangers of Dallas Fort Worth - 21-20 overall, 3-3 last week

Offense: The Rangers offense actually struggled a bit last week while facing the American League's two best pitching staffs in the Twins and White Sox, but still managed to play .500 ball despite only scoring 25 runs. Mark Teixeira (.346 BA) and Richard Hidalgo (.381 BA) led the team's offensive assault and Kevin Mench smashed three home runs in 22 at-bats. Alfonso Soriano finally cooled off, going 6 for 26 and striking out 7 times.

Pitching: Kenny Rogers has a 1.49 ERA to lead the American League! Pitching in Texas, that is quite an accomplishment and believe it or not, the Rangers' staff has allowed only 29 home runs to lead the AL. Those are about the only good things you can say about them. In four starts, Pedro Astacio, Ryan Drese and Chan Ho Park gave up 21 runs in 21 innings. You do the math. Outside of Ron Mahay's five runs in two innings, the rest of the Rangers bullpen gave up only one run. Maybe Mariners' GM Bill Bavasi could convince John Hart that Aaron Sele would help upgrade their pitching staff…..hmmmm.

Seattle Mariners of area code 206 - 16-24 overall, 3-3 last week

Offense: Raul Ibanez (.348, 2 HR, 7 RBI) and Bret Boone (381, 3 doubles) seemed to adjust well to a swap in the lineup, breaking up the three-righty row in the middle of the order. Tacoma callup Wiki Gonzalez had a spectacular debut, giving the Mariners some pop at catcher, and was promptly put on the 60 day disabled list after injuring himself running to first base. Miguel Olivo responded with a solid 3-4 night against the Red Sox, propelling the Mariners to a win. He then went 1-for-11 the next three games. Adrian Beltre (.211 BA) continues to slump and though Richie Sexson clubbed his 10th and 11th home runs, he only got one other hit in 23 at-bats and struck out nine times. Sexson also dropped an inning-ending double play ball against the Yankees to load the bases, leading to a Grand Slam by Bernie Williams.

Pitching:: One word to describe the Mariners' starting pitching thus far; Terrible. Last week, the two worst pitchers on the team had the two best starts, (Sele and Franklin 1 ER each) and their top starter Joel Piniero was demoted to the minors to work on his mechanics, Gil Meche looked absolutely mediocre in his first start of the week, giving up four runs in six innings, and Jamie Moyer's arm appears more and more like it's nearing the end. Is there a bright spot here? No, not unless you are spending a lot of time in Tacoma. Actually, Jorge Campillo was promoted to the M's bullpen and should see starting action soon enough. Cha Sueng Beck should be along soon as well. Julio Mateo looked unspectacular in his starting debut against the Yankees, surrendering five runs and eight hits in five innings of work. Does anybody else smell change in the air?

Oakland's Athletics' of Alameda - 16-24 overall, 2-4 last week

Offense: The A's actually managed to score some runs against a reeling Boston Red Sox team, managing 19 hits and 13 runs against David Wells in his first game back from the DL. Scott Hatteberg (409 BA, 0 SO) Eric Byrnes (.563, 3 doubles) and Jason Kendall (.364, 3 doubles) all had torrid weeks at the plate, but the A's still only managed two wins. Eric Chavez hammered two home runs as he tries to emerge from his season-long slump, going 6-23. Chavez's bombs were the only two homeruns by the entire team, though, and the A's only managed one stolen base as well. The big three are finished, and Moneyball is in full swing. Seems to be working well.

Pitching: If you think the Mariners and Rangers pitching stinks, be thankful you aren't an A's fan. With a 7.33 team ERA last week, one has to wonder how they even managed two wins, especially against the Red Sox. Even Rich Harden got shellacked against the Yankees, giving up five runs in three innings of work. Kirk Sarloos was the only A's starter worth mentioning, surrendering only two runs in six innings of work against the Red Sox. Does anybody find it curious that the Yankees 10-game win streak coincided with a 12 game stretch against the A's and Mariners?

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