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5 feats to watch in AL West down the stretch

@goodforball
August 15, 2019

Whether they’re milestones or stepping stones, records are meant to be broken, as various American League performers are proving. Some players are pursuing monumental achievements. Others simply are soaring past certain numerical levels en route to something greater. Here’s a look at what’s possible in the AL West as we

Whether they’re milestones or stepping stones, records are meant to be broken, as various American League performers are proving.

Some players are pursuing monumental achievements. Others simply are soaring past certain numerical levels en route to something greater. Here’s a look at what’s possible in the AL West as we head down the stretch of the regular season.

Angels

The franchise’s next big milestone will be Mike Trout recording his 200th career stolen base. He’s currently one and when he reaches it, he will become the youngest player ever to amass 250 homers and 200 stolen bases. He’d become the first to do so in his age-27 season.

Trout also is two homers shy of his career high of 41. Troy Glaus’ club record of 47 homers, which he set in 2000, is also within reach.

Astros

The Astros have yet to walk a batter intentionally. If they don’t do it over the regular season’s final six weeks or so, they would become the first team to never walk a batter intentionally in a season. Intentional walks have been declining in recent seasons as teams value not giving up a free base, and last year, the Astros issued only four intentional walks. Until 2013, the only team with fewer than 10 intentional walks in a season was the 1974 Dodgers. Prior to 2018, no team had issued fewer than eight before the Astros had four.

Athletics

Jesus Luzardo, ranked as the club's No. 1 prospect by MLB Pipeline, is expected to make his Major League debut sometime during the final six weeks of the regular season. Born in Lima, Peru, he would become the first Peruvian-born baseball player to reach the big leagues. Though he grew up in Florida and identifies more with Venezuelan culture, given that is his family's descent, Luzardo mentioned in Spring Training that representing Peru as its first MLB player would be an honor. The excitement in the A's organization is already building for the arrival of Luzardo, who is currently ramping up his workload in the Minors as he returns from a lat strain.

Mariners

With general manager Jerry Dipoto shuffling his rebuilding roster like an intense Las Vegas blackjack dealer, the Mariners figure to blow by the Major League record of 64 players used in a season, set by the Rangers in 2014, once Seattle adds a handful of young prospects in the final month. Toronto is second on the all-time list with 63 players used last season. The Mariners have also employed by far the most pitchers in the Majors this season with 39, which is one shy of the club's own MLB record of 40 in 2017 (on Thursday they called up rookie Taylor Guilbeau, who will be No. 40 if he appears in a game). The Rangers also used 40 pitchers in ’14. No other team has ever trotted out more than 37 pitchers in a season.

Rangers

Mike Minor has a major accomplishment within reach.

The left-hander owns a 2.90 ERA, close to Astros right-hander Justin Verlander’s AL-leading 2.82. The only Rangers pitcher to lead the league in ERA was Rick Honeycutt in 1983, and he was traded to the Dodgers on Aug. 19 that season. Having an ERA champion would be a milestone for a Rangers team that lacks a great pitching reputation.

Also, Lance Lynn is 14-8, giving him an outside chance at 20 victories. The Rangers have had just three 20-game winners in their history: Ferguson Jenkins in 1974, Kevin Brown in 1992 and Rick Helling in 1998. Lynn, who should receive seven or eight more starts, won a career-high 18 games in 2012.

The Rangers are the only AL team never to have a Cy Young Award winner.

Chris Haft has covered the Major Leagues since 1991 and has worked for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @goodforball.