• September 3, 2014

West Coast providing excitement for MLB

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Posted: Wednesday, June 4, 2014 4:30 am

Barring some really good fortune in the next four months, the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers won’t be a buyer at the trade deadline nor will they be vying for a playoff berth.

But there is still some good baseball to be found in Texas and some compelling story lines. Fans just have to burn the midnight oil to see it.

Though big, national media outlets, especially the worldwide leader in sports, love to beat Yankee and Red Sox coverage down everyone’s throat during the summer, some of the best teams and players are on the West Coast.

The Oakland A’s and San Francisco Giants are ruling the Bay Area while the Los Angeles Dodgers and Angels of Anaheim parade some of the best players in the majors.

The problem is that most of these guys take the field at around 9, 9:30 p.m. CST when most people are getting ready to hit the sack.

But if you can find the time the next morning, find some of these highlights and stories involving the West Coast.

The Giants, arguably, have been the best run team of the last five years, and could become a dynasty after World Series titles in 2010 and 2012.

Thirty-eight-year-old Tim Hudson has found new life after coming over from Atlanta.

Hudson is 6-2 with a 1.75 ERA, far below his career average of 3.40. Hudson’s previous low came 11 years ago with Oakland when he posted a 2.70 ERA with 162 strikeouts.

Oakland has the second best record in the big leagues and is performing strong on the mound.

The A’s don’t have a player hitting over .300. Josh Donaldson leads the team with a .284 average.

Four of the five starters in the A’s pitching rotation have an ERA below 3.00. Scott Kazmir is the ace of the rotation with a 2.36 ERA, 53 strikeouts and a 6-2 record.

The rotation also includes Sonny Gray (2.45 ERA), Jesse Chavez (2.78) and Tommy Milone (3.60).

Northern California has the teams, but Los Angeles is full of stars and the future of baseball with Yasiel Puig and Mike Trout.

Puig lit the National League on fire about a year ago when the Dodgers called him up. Big home runs and flashy plays on defense helped reinvigorate the team and helped put together a National League Championship Series run. This year, Puig is batting .341 with a .430 on base percentage and 40 RBIs. He is 21 points above his 2013 average, 40 points above his OBP.

Despite recent injury troubles and a slow start, Trout has shown the ability to amaze Angels fans. He’s done so since he joined the team in 2011 and won the American League Rookie of the Year in 2012.

Trout is batting .293 with 11 homers and 38 RBIs through 53 games this season. He has finished second in AL MVP voting the last two seasons.

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