Two weeks into June, the Oakland Athletics continue to lead the American League West, though the Los Angeles Angels are not too far behind. The Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers continue to play average baseball, though they are not living up to their expectations coming into the season. And surprisingly, the Houston Astros are just seven games under .500 due to the emergence of young talent such as Dallas Keuchel, George Springer, and Jon Singleton. Here’s a look at how the division performed over the past week:
1. Oakland Athletics (41-27, 3-3 this week)
The Athletics started the week with back-to-back losses on Monday and Tuesday to the Los Angeles Angels, being dominated both nights by Angels pitching. They were held to just one run on Monday and one run on Tuesday, a game in which the two teams played for fourteen innings until Collin Cowgill launched a walk-off home run to give Los Angeles the series victory. Oakland bounced back on Wednesday to avoid the sweep behind a seven-run outburst and a solid job on the mound by Tommy Milone, who allowed just one run on six hits in six and two-thirds innings. The A’s had an off day on Thursday to fly back to the bay area for a three-game set against the New York Yankees. The offense sputtered again on Friday night as they were shutout by David Phelps over six and two-thirds innings while the Yankee offense pounded out seven runs on twelve hits for the win. Scott Kazmir dominated the Yankees over six innings on Saturday to even the series, before they finished the series with a 10-5 win on Sunday, backed by three-run homers from both Coco Crisp and Derek Norris.
Player of the Week- Yoenis Cespedes (8-26, 2 2B, 4 RBI)
2. Los Angeles Angels (37-30, 3-2 this week*)
Los Angeles continued their early success over the past week, inching closer to the Athletics for the division lead. The Angels took Monday’s game over Oakland 4-1 as Garrett Richards dominated over seven strong innings, allowing just one run on four hits to earn his sixth win of the year. Collin Cowgill came up with a walk-off solo home run in the fourteenth inning of Tuesday night’s game to give the Angels the series victory. After dropping the series finale on Wednesday, Los Angeles headed to Atlanta for a marquee series match-up with the Braves. The Braves got the best of the Halos on Friday night, backed by home runs from Evan Gattis and Chris Johnson. The Angels came back to even the series on Saturday night when they posted five runs in the thirteenth inning to outlast Atlanta, 11-6. Saturday night was a big one for both Mike Trout and Albert Pujols, who each had three hits, including a double and a home run, and four RBI.
(*The Angels conclude their week on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball*)
Player of the Week- Mike Trout (7-19, 5 2B, HR, 6 RBI)
3. Seattle Mariners (35-34, 2-5 this week)
The Mariners struggled heavily this week after starting it with a 3-0 victory over Tampa Bay on Monday afternoon. Seattle began a three-game set with the New York Yankees at home on Tuesday with a 3-2 loss, despite a quality start from Hishashi Iwakuma, who allowed three runs on seven hits in seven and one-thirds innings. The Yankees claimed the series on Wednesday with a 4-2 win behind Masahiro Tanaka’s eleven-strikeout performance before finishing the sweep on Thursday behind a dominant start by Chase Whitley. Seattle then welcomed in the Texas Rangers, who picked up the series opener on Friday night with a 1-0 win, the lone run coming in the ninth inning when Fernando Rodney allowed an inherited runner to score after Felix Hernandez departed. Seattle dropped their fifth straight on Saturday, again allowing a run in the ninth inning that turned out to be the difference. The Mariners avoided the sweep on Sunday afternoon with a 5-1 win as they received a dominant outing from Hishashi Iwakuma, who allowed just one run on six hits in eight innings.
Player of the Week- Hishashi Iwakuma (1-1 record, 2 QS, 15 1/3 IP, 4 ER, 11 K)
4. Texas Rangers (34-35, 3-3 this week)
The Rangers finished their four-game series with Cleveland on Monday with a 17-7 loss, largely due to a career night from the Indians’ Lonnie Chisenhall, who picked up five hits in five-at bats, including a double and three home runs, racking up nine RBI along the way. Texas then hosted the Miami Marlins for two games, earning the series split with a 6-0 win on Wednesday after falling 8-5 on Tuesday. Wednesday night marked the first career complete game for Yu Darvish, who struck out ten en route to his seventh win of the season. The Rangers then traveled to Seattle on Thursday’s off day before taking a 1-0 win in Friday’s opener. They won Saturday’s game in the ninth as well, this time on a game-winning single by Leonys Martin. Texas was unable to complete the sweep on Sunday as they were stifled by Seattle’s Hishashi Iwakuma.
Player of the Week- Yu Darvish (CG, 6 H, 0 R, 10 K on Wednesday vs. MIA)
5. Houston Astros (32-39, 4-3 this week)
The Astros continued to show some promise for their future this week, first by receiving a strong start on Monday in Arizona by Jarred Cosart, who allowed just three runs on five hits in six innings to pick up his fifth win of the year. After dropping Tuesday’s game, they came back to Houston for two more against the Diamondbacks. Wednesday provided another solid pitching performance from Dallas Keuchel, who won his eighth game of the year by allowing just one run on four hits in eight innings. The Astros then took the series finale on Thursday in ten innings, with the winning run coming on a walk-off home run by Chris Carter, his thirteenth of the season. Friday, Houston welcomed in the struggling Tampa Bay Rays, though the Rays won the opener by a score of 6-1, helped by a dominant performance from Alex Cobb and a three-hit night from Ben Zobrist. The ‘Stros bounced back on Saturday with a 7-3 win, with Jarred Cosart turning in another quality start, allowing three runs on nine hits in seven innings for his sixth win. Houston dropped the series finale on Sunday as a late single by Jerry Sands in the eighth ended up as the difference in the game.
Player of the Week- Dexter Fowler (10-29, 3 2B, HR, 3 RBI)