The Oakland Athletics head into their weekend interleague series with the San Francisco Giants now sitting one game back of first place in the American League West. The A's enjoyed a day in first place on Wednesday when they sat tied with the Texas Rangers. However, a pair of losses to Minnesota dropped Oakland back into second place. They've benefitted from the Los Angeles Angels recent free-fall as the Angels have dropped five straight and eight of their last ten. Meanwhile, the Seattle Mariners find themselves quietly hanging around an AL West division in which nobody is ready to run away with anything quite yet.
As the division and wildcard standings show, it's probably unlikely that the wildcard will be coming from the AL West. There is still a whole lot of baseball left to be played, but given AL West performances in recent years, one team will be coming from the West and the battle will rage into September.
As we make our way through the end of May, Memorial Day is the first big marker of the season. Normally if a team is 20 games over .500 at that point, they generally are in excellent shape to make the playoffs. The closest team to that "magic number" would be the 26-15 Cleveland Indians. However, the Indians have gone .500 in May while gaining a half game in their overall division lead. Several teams find themselves with solid single digit division leads as we enter the summer. Some of these division leads will explode into double digits, but I think we'll see a lot of tight division battles down the stretch.
AL West Standings
American League Wild Card Standings
|New York||23||19||.547||0||Won 3|
|Kansas City||21||22||.488||2.5||Won 1|
|Los Angeles||22||23||.488||2.5||Lost 5|
(updated 5.20.2011 at 11:52 AM PDT)