Astros clinch the playoffs but still out to win the AL West
The Houston Astros won their 96th game of the season last night with nine games left in the regular season.
The Astros would have to win six of those nine games to tie the franchise record with 102 in the season that was set in 1998. They only need to win five of the last nine games to tie last years 101 wins en route to winning the World Series via Baseball-Reference. All those stats don’t mean anything if the A’s somehow pass them up to win the AL West. If that happened, the Astros would play in the Wild Card game.
That is not an ideal situation.
The Astros know that they are not done, they still need to win to stay ahead of the Athletics. After winning in the tenth inning last night on a Khris Davis homer, the Athletics won their 93rd game of the season, sitting 3.5 games behind Houston. Mathematically, there is still a chance that the Athletics could catch up to the Astros. Their elimination number in the AL West currently sits at six. Standings via Fangraphs.
The Athletics only have eight games remaining in the regular season, so a lot will have to go right for them to catch up to Houston. Looking at the Astros opponents, they have two more games versus the Angels (75-79), three in Toronto versus the Blue Jays (70-84), and close the season out in Baltimore versus the Orioles (44-109). It seems like the Astros have a weak schedule, but you can’t count your chickens before they hatch.
The Angels have been reeling recently. The Athletics crushed them on back to back games as they allowed 31 runs. They still have Mike Trout, and they would like to finish the season around .500. The Blue Jays tend to play better against the Astros, but they have lost two of the three games this year. With a lost season, the Orioles will try to end on a positive note.
A look at the Athletics
The Athletics will look to clinch a Wild Card berth soon with a magic number of three. Tampa Bay has an elimination number of 6.5. Oakland has seven more wins than the Rays, so the clock is ticking. The Athletics will play the Twins (71-82), Mariners (84-69), and finish with the Angels (75-79). They have a tougher schedule, but they are also determined to catch the Astros. Unfortunately for the Mariners, they are not in the AL Central.
According to Fangraphs, the Astros have a 99.3% chance of winning the AL West. It will take a legendary run for the Athletics to overtake Houston.
As we saw yesterday, players like J.D. Davis will get some playing with Carlos Correa out of the lineup this weekend. But don’t look for a minor league lineup until they clinch the AL West. With the 3.5 game lead, it’s in the Astros hands. They can control their own destiny, let’s send the A’s to New York. Bring on the Indians!