Dallas Braden's exquisite perfect game for Oakland on Sunday notwithstanding, no division in baseball has been as disappointing as this motley crew (though the NL Central should not be overlooked, what with the Cubs, Brewers and Astros).
The AL West this year is Conan O'Brien in his last few days on The Tonight Show. Not nearly as funny, but every bit as beleaguered.
How rough is it out there? They nearly had to delay the first pitch of Friday night's Angels-Mariners game because both clubs held meetings to discuss, they were scuffling so badly.
The weekend started with the Angels dragging a seven-game losing streak to Seattle, where the Mariners greeted them with a six-game losing streak of their own. Seattle skipper Don Wakamatsu closed the doors to address his team before the series started while the Angels held a players-only meeting.
For the Angels, who normally under manager Mike Scioscia only hold team meetings to divide up playoff shares, it was their second meeting in less than 24 hours. Scioscia had briefly closed the doors to address the troops the night before in Boston, where Los Angeles had been swept in a four-game series for the first time since 1967 which, for the Red Sox, goes all the way back to the Impossible Dream and Jim Lonborg pre-skiing injury.
Already, the Angels, who miss Chone Figgins and John Lackey more than they acknowledge, are closing in on a club record for meetings in a season. They don't need another alternate jersey so much as they need an appointment book.
Last time the Angels and Mariners met with each club at least six games under .500? According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was way back in 1994.
By Sunday, that had changed because the Angels, behind Jered Weaver's 7 1/3 shutout innings Friday and Joe Saunders righting himself Saturday, took the first two games of this pillow-fight to climb to within four games of .500 -- and push Seattle's losing streak to eight in a row.
Obvious answer to the light-hitting Mariners' woes, of course, was to fire hitting coach Alan Cockrell, which Seattle did before Sunday's game. It's not Cockrell's fault that a single can of Mountain Dew contains more pop than the Mariners' lineup, which was last in the majors with a hard-to-believe paltry sum of 10 home runs.
The White Sox's Paul Konerko has more than that by himself (13), while five other big leaguers have equaled the M's total by themselves: Toronto's Alex Gonzalez, Baltimore's Ty Wigginton, the Dodgers' Andre Ethier and Arizona's Mark Reynolds and Kelly Johnson.
While the power outage cannot be blamed on Cockrell -- he didn't construct a lineup that has Franklin Gutierrez, Jose Lopez and Casey Kotchman in the middle -- the M's figured they had enough other evidence to sack him: Last in the AL in team batting average (.225), on-base percentage (.302), slugging percentage (.315) and runs scored (94).
Wretched? Eight Mariners in the regular lineup are hitting worse than .220.
Ugh -- and it's no picnic elsewhere in the division.
Texas is in first place, but every day "owner" Tom Hicks fails to pay his bills leaves the creditors barking more savagely, demanding that major-league baseball seize the franchise from Hicks and facilitate a sale. The Rangers franchise was supposed to have been sold by early April, and baseball taking control is a very real possibility. Turns out, whether or not the Rangers can afford a summer's worth of baseballs might be the least of their issues.
Oakland? In the muck of the AL West, the A's have been the most pleasant story going. Their only crime so far is guilt-by-association in this haggard division. That, and having nine players on the disabled list, their most since May, 2008. Which pretty much makes running in place a goal, not a detriment.
Ah well, what the AL West lacks in looks, it should make up for in sheer competitiveness this summer. At one point last week, the four clubs were separated by a mere half-game. And right now, looking through the one-way glass at the perp walk, it doesn't look like anybody here will be running away anytime soon.