News Forum Blogs Roster Players Schedule Depth chart Stats Videos Photos

Seattle Mariners News

News » A's play 10 games in a row against A.L. West teams

A's play 10 games in a row against A.L. West teams

A's play 10 games in a row against A.L. West teams
The Baseball season is only three weeks old, so it's impossible to tell how the race in the American League West will shake out.

But it's tough to envision things being exactly as they were last year, when the Los Angeles Angels clinched the division Sept. 10 and finished a remarkable 21 games ahead of the second-place Texas Rangers.

The A's, Rangers and Seattle Mariners hope they can keep pace with the Angels this season. For the A's, who start a 10-game stretch against A.L. West teams today in Texas, history suggests it will depend on how they fare against division opponents.

The A's had a winning record against A.L. West teams every year from 2000 to 2006 and made the playoffs in five of those seasons. The past two years, when they finished well out of contention, the A's were a combined 50-64 against the division.

"You play 19 games against each team in the division, and all of them can swing one way or another," A's Manager Bob Geren said. "Whether it's April or September, when you play someone in your division, those games usually count as two. So (these games) are important."

They also figure to be difficult. The Rangers are having their usual problems with pitching but entered Monday leading the major leagues with 38 home runs, tied for third with 118 RBIs and batting .274. The A's were 7-12 against Texas last season.

The Mariners, whom the A's visit this weekend, responded to new manager Don Wakamatsu by winning 12 of their first 19 games. Their 3.50 ERA is third best in the majors, and it appears some of last year's reported problems with team chemistry have been smoothed over.

"Wak is a guy who commands respect. There's a difference between demand and command," A's starter Dallas Braden said of Wakamatsu, the A's bench coach last season. "He's a guy who you want to respect just because. And when you get a bunch of grown men with the kind of talent that major league Baseball players have all focusing on one collective goal, and you have a man like that leading them, good things are going to happen."

Of course, the Angels , despite a difficult start, remain favored to win their third straight division title. Besides having to cope with the tragic death of starting pitcher Nick Adenhart on April 9, Los Angeles has been without injured starters Kelvim Escobar, John Lackey and Ervin Santana.

Escobar, Lackey and Santana should be back sometime in May to bolster a staff that has a 5.07 ERA after an 8-0 home win Sunday over the Mariners. The Angels , who visit the Oakland Coliseum for a two-game series next week, have used eight starting pitchers, one more than they used all of last season.

"Sooner or later, we'd like to start playing better Baseball. And if you're going to do it against your division, that's the best time," A's second baseman Mark Ellis said. "There's so many games left, but you definitely want to play well against teams in your own division."

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: April 29, 2009

Seattle Mariners Photos
All the latest Seattle Mariners Photos Store photographs. Major League Baseball MLB.
The most recent photo
Add to Google
Add to My Yahoo!
Subscribe in NewsGator Online
Add to Windows Live

Copyright ©, Inc. All rights reserved 2008.