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MLB Power Rankings: Astros, Angels in for a battle, Yankees on a roll

by | Baseball Writer

Oh, hello, AL West race.

With just over two months left in the season, we have a dead heat between the defending division champion Angels and the team that hasn't won more than 70 games since 2010 -- when it was in the NL Central -- the Astros.

There's a lot to like about both clubs, too.

We're talking about the top home run hitting team in the AL (Astros) against the team that boasts the two top home run hitting players (Angels' Mike Trout and Albert Pujols).

There's an MVP candidate in Trout on one side and a Cy Young candidate in Dallas Keuchel on the other. The Astros have two Rookie of the Year candidates in pitcher Lance McCullers and hot-shot shortstop Carlos Correa. Over in Anaheim, the Angels have a pretty hot rookie themselves in starting pitcher Andrew Heaney (only six starts, but he's 5-0 with a 1.79 ERA).

The Astros had an embattled GM entering the season -- hopefully those Jeff Luhnow haters have mostly subsided by now -- while the Angels lost a GM earlier this season due to an internal dispute.

What we've seen so far leading up the July 31 deadline is that neither team intends to be quiet, either, so more moves could be coming.

Head to head, this has been fun. They've played 11 times, with the Astros winning six. There are two more this week before six -- three at each respective venue -- in September.

Might this one go down to the wire? I like the chances of that happening and it has the makings of a real fun two-team race where they play similar schedules through the home stretch. Injuries and trades will obviously have an impact because that's the nature of sports, but what we can see right now points to a close race right to the end. And that is -- you know where I'm going with this -- fun.

Please feel free to contact me with comments either on Twitter (@MattSnyderCBS) or via email: matt.snyder@cbs.com. As always, allow me to remind you that if we disagree about something, one of us is either stupid or biased -- maybe both. It’s probably not me, either.

Astros, Angels
The AL West race is shaping up to be a fun one between the Angels and the ... Astros? (USATSI)


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