Two weeks into the 2022 MLB regular season, the American League West is appearing set for a season-long slugfest. The Angels, Mariners, and Astros are looking competitive, as expected, while the beefed-up Rangers, surprisingly, are sitting dead last at 2-9. Meanwhile, the completely new-look Athletics have managed to stay afloat at 7-6.
Our beloved Seattle Mariners performed well in their first intradivision matchup of the season last weekend, trouncing the Astros 11-1 on Friday and 7-2 on Sunday, while taking the series 2-1. Currently, the M’s have clinched a series win over the Rangers, and are looking to take home a series sweep on Thursday evening.
The Los Angeles Angels lead the division at this early juncture of the season, sitting with an 8-5 record and fresh off of a series win over the Astros. Reigning AL MVP Shohei Ohtani is leading the slugging charge for the Angels with 3 home runs and 9 RBIs, while youngster Brandon Marsh has come on strong in his first full season, hitting .323 with 11 RBIs at the top of the order.
The Astros, as noted, have now fallen to both the Mariners and Angels in recent series, and are finally beginning to look vulnerable in the division. However, All-Stars Jose Altuve, Michael Brantley, and Alex Bregman remain as threats in the lineup, and ace Justin Verlander has looked fantastic in his return from Tommy John surgery last season.
Over in Oakland, the Athletics have jumped out to a promising start, led by solid early outings by starting pitchers Frankie Montas, Paul Blackburn, and Daulton Jefferies. Oakland’s offense hasn’t been top-notch, but as we saw with the 2021 Mariners, excellent pitching can take a team a long way.
Rounding out the division, the Texas Rangers have been a major disappointment so far. The Rangers made a statement this offseason by adding two of the year’s top free agents (shortstop Corey Seager and second baseman Marcus Semien), but the starting rotation has looked horrible. Even if Seager and Semien have monster seasons, it will be tough for the Rangers to win if their pitching staff is unable to step up.