Tag Archives: AL West

Hot July Puts Rangers on Track for First AL Flag

Of all the teams currently in contention for a division crown, I’d say the Texas Rangers are the most surprising of the bunch; their superb 20-9 record in July has them sitting comfortably in first place in the AL West, five games ahead of the defending AL champion Royals, and 6½ ahead of the Twins. The Rangers have yet to have a losing month, and their current mark of 64-41 is well ahead of last season’s pace, one that gave the ’77 squad a final record of 94-68, the best in the team’s short six-year history in Texas.

Everything seems to be going right for the Rangers this season, with four batters—Bump Wills, Al Oliver, Juan Beniquez, and Johnny Grubb—hitting over .300, starting pitchers Jon Matlack (16-3) and Fergie Jenkins (14-6) rolling towards twenty wins, and three relievers—Reggie Cleveland, Steve Comer, and Danny Darwin—sporting ERA’s under 2.00. The team leads the AL in stolen bases, with 148, and Wills is third with 54, behind Seattle’s Julio Cruz and Detroit’s Ron LeFlore. In July, Wills was the team’s leading batter, with 40 hits, 23 runs scored, and a .364 batting average, but an argument could be made for Grubb, who in just 18 games went 38-for-73, good for a robust .521. And though Matlack and Jenkins were no surprise with 4-1 won-lost marks for the month, Doc Medich stunned everyone with a 4-1 mark of his own, a 1.86 ERA, and three complete games in five starts.

To take a look at the Rangers team page for statistics through July, click here. The boxes for league leaders, team rankings, and award totals have been left blank; these numbers will be added after all AL team statistics have been finalized, and July award winners have been picked.

11-17 July Drops M’s Further From AL West Race

It’s hard to believe the second-year Seattle Mariners were 31-21 after the first two months of the SP78 campaign, and had reeled off a 16-game winning streak in May, the longest yet by any team this season. Now, after an injury had knocked the team’s offensive leader, outfielder Tom Paciorek, out of action for thirty days, the M’s have fallen on hard times, dropping to 48-59 by the end of July and drifting back and forth between fourth and sixth place in the AL West. And though Paciorek has returned to the active roster, the Mariner magic seems to have dissipated, leaving the Emerald City squad gasping for life in a tough division already stocked with superior teams.

Keeping in mind that, due to his injury, Paciorek has played in only 67 of Seattle’s 107 games, he leads the team with a .327 average (he and Julio Cruz, at .316, are the only M’s currently hitting over .300); he also led the squad in average for July, with an impressive .355 mark. At this point in the season, Leon Roberts would take team MVP honors, with a .299 average, 21 doubles, 22 home runs, and 69 RBI. And of course, Cruz is still grabbing headlines with his pursuit of both the AL and major league stolen base record; by the end of July, he was just 22 away from Ty Cobb’s AL record of 96. But Seattle’s pitching has been nothing but trouble, and with no pitchers—starters or relievers—with a PB higher than 2-6, it doesn’t look to get any better over the next two months.

To check out the Mariners team page for results and statistics through July, click here. The boxes for league leaders, team rankings, and award totals have been left blank; these numbers will be added after all AL team statistics have been finalized, and July award winners have been picked.

Twins Still in AL West Race Despite Mediocre July

Thanks to a dominate 29-11 won-lost mark to open the season, the Minnesota Twins were able to weather an 11-12 June and a 13-15 July to remain in solid contention in the AL West, finishing the month in third place with a record of 57-47, just 6½ games behind the division-leading Rangers and 1½ games behind the Royals. And with an upcoming schedule that pits the Twins against sub-.500 teams in 22 of their next 30 games, they might find themselves sitting in first place—for the first time since before the All-Star break—by the end of August.

Hosken Powell (.306) and Mike Cubbage (.304) were the only Twins batters to hit above .300 in July, and though Rod Carew led the team with 32 hits, his batting average for the month dipped to an uncharacteristic .271. For the season, shortstop Roy Smalley leads the squad in average (.328), runs (67), home runs (16), and runs batted in (73), while Carew once again leads in hits, with 134. On the mound, Dave Goltz returned to his early-season form with a 2.61 ERA for the month, but a lack of run support left him with a 2-2 mark in six starts. Gary Serum went 3-1 with one save as a spot starter (and is 11-4 for the season, tops on the Twins), while reliever Mike Marshall saved more than half of his team’s wins for July, with seven. And July also saw my friend Joe S play his first-ever SP78 game, piloting Minnesota to an 8-6 loss to the Yankees back in 2012.

To visit the Twins team page for stats and results through July, click here. The boxes for league leaders, team rankings, and award totals have been left blank; these numbers will be added after all AL team statistics have been finalized, and July award winners have been picked.

July Was Best Month for Persistent Royals

The defending AL West champion Kansas City Royals have not spent one day in first place in their division this season, yet they’ve managed to quietly remain within striking distance of the front-running Rangers and Twins throughout the SP78 campaign. The Royals finished July in second place with a record of 58-45, five games behind the Rangers and 1½ ahead of the Twins, and after All-Star MVP George Brett and ace reliever Al Hrabosky were placed on the disabled list in July, KC was still able to round out the month with a decent 17-11 mark, their best won-lost of the year. And with both injured players set to return to the lineup in mid-August, the Royals seem ready to come out of hiding and make a move for the West flag.

Before he was lost to injury, Brett led all Royals starters for the month with a .340 average, and tied Hal McRae for the team lead in hits, with 33; his 125 hits, 42 doubles, and 66 RBI leads the team overall. Amos Otis led the squad with just five home runs in July, and his 16 for the season ties Hal McRae for best on the team for the season. On the mound, Dennis Leonard and Paul Splittorff each recorded four victories for the month, and Leonard’s 14 wins has him on pace to win 20 for the second straight year. As for team stats, KC is 18-3 in shutout wins for the season, and has a perfect 8-0 mark in games where a team has scored ten runs or more; they also finished July winning nine of their last eleven games.

To take a look at the Royals team page for results through July, click here. The boxes for league leaders, team rankings, and award totals have been left blank; these numbers will be added after all AL team statistics have been finalized, and July award winners have been picked.