A.L. West update


The Astros have started the season with a heavy dose of divisional opponents. After tonight’s series finale in Seattle the ‘Stros head to Anaheim to complete their first tour of the A.L. West.

While the Mariners and Astros go head-to-head the A’s and Angels are doing the same. The Rangers are the only team that is currently playing a non-divisional opponent.

Joe Nathan and A.J. Pierzynski (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)

Earlier today the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Rangers 2-0 to salvage the final game of their 3-game series. Chilly temperatures had an affect on the offense, as did the outstanding pitching efforts of Matt Moore and Derek Holland.Texas won the first game of the series 5-4 thanks in part to a horrible strike call by umpire Marty Foster that ended the game and gave Joe Nathan his 300th career save.

The Rangers took care of business yesterday, winning 6-1. Nick Tepesch went 7 & 1/3 innings to earn the win in his big league debut. Tepesch could be sticking around for a while. Today the Rangers placed Opening Day starter Matt Harrison on the 15-day disabled list with a stiff lower back. Justin Grimm was called up from Round Rock and will start tomorrow against Felix Hernandez and the Mariners.

Hot Coco and cold Ham

The Angels are struggling and the Athletics are on fire. Oakland went into Anaheim and beat the Angels 9-5 in Wednesday’s series opener. John Jaso had a 3-run homer and Coco Crisp homered for the fourth straight game. Josh Hamilton went 0/4 for the Angels and is now batting .138 with eleven strikeouts.

Tommy Milone (1-0, 2.57) goes for Oakland tonight against Joe Blanton (0-1, 7.20) and the Angels. Tomorrows finale pits A.J. Griffin (1-0, 3.00) against Jason Vargas (0-0, 1.59).

Astros bats wake up angry

The Astros went scoreless in Seattle for the first nine innings, dropping the series opener 3-0 to  Joe Saunders and the Mariners. But rookie Brandon Maurer became an unwilling victim when the 1-6 Astros broke out of their slumber with a 6-run first inning in last night’s 16-9 romp.

Chris Carter came to life, hitting two of the Astros five homers. Jose Altuve, J.D. Martinez, and Marwin Gonzalez also got into the act. The Astros used a 22-hit attack to score in seven of the nine innings. Erik Bedard was almost flawless in his first start as an Astro, allowing one hit and two walks in four innings of work. Paul Clemens had a shaky big league debut, but picked up the win thanks to the Astros offensive explosion.

Brett Wallace was the only Astros starter to go hitless Tuesday. The Astros first-baseman fanned four times before being removed in favor of a pinch-hitter. Wallace is not in the lineup tonight against Mariners righty Blake Beavan.

Can the Astros keep the hits coming tonight in support of Brad Peacock?

Jed Lowrie and Jose Altuve (Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports)

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