Granted, there are only four teams in the West and five in the East, it's apples and oranges to an extent, but it does serve a purpose in showing how wide open the West can be on a year-to-year basis.
This year looks to have the same potential for another open race — after you get past the fact that the Seattle Mariners will again likely end the year in division's cellar. But everywhere else, you can make a case for a potential division crown.
Oakland is a trendy pick to win the division, and when you look at their pitching, you'll see why. The Red Sox got a first-hand look on Tuesday night as to what kind of a pitcher Brett Anderson is, but they've seen that before. The left-hander has owned the Sox in his young career and he continues to get better. He's not alone, either. Trevor Cahill, who just signed a contract extension is on the short list of the game's best young pitchers. Gio Gonzalez has given up exactly one run this season in 19 innings of work and Dallas Braden already has a perfect game to his name. If they can score any runs, they'll be in the thick of things come September.
Then there are the Angels. They sent the Rangers a message on Tuesday night in Arlington with a resounding 15-4 lead to force a tie atop the division. The Halos may not be the same team that won multiple division crowns in the last few years, but like the A's they have pitching. They'll get a full season with Dan Haren in the rotation for the first time, and so far, that's gone pretty darn well. Haren has been virtually unhittable and is already 4-0. He's been a hair better than fellow ace Jered Weaver who's also 4-0. They have ERAs of 1.16 and 1.30, respectively. They've got a decent enough lineup from top to bottom, and they have the division's best manager in Mike Scioscia.
Rounding out the AL West contenders are the defending American League champions, the Texas Rangers. Ron Washington's bunch reminded the Red Sox just how good they really are during the season's first weekend, and they haven't slowed much since. They may no longer have Cliff Lee, but that hasn't held them back any early on this season. C.J. Wilson has stepped in to fill Lee's vacated spot as the team's ace, but it's been Matt Harrison (3-0, 1.23) who's been the most pleasant surprise on the mound. Sure, they'll be without Josh Hamilton for a couple of months, but the Rangers still have a scary lineup featuring the likes of Adrian Beltre, Ian Kinsler and Michael Young.
Who will win the AL West this season? Share your thoughts below.
Tuesday, April 19: Which Red Sox pitcher will lead the team in ERA this season?