5. Oakland Athletics
The Oakland A’s have really been the only competition for the Astros winning the AL West in recent memory, and the two squads faced off in the 2020 postseason. The Astros took that series easily in four games, after the A’d had actually won the division.
Let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way as well, or should I say snake. After pitching a no-hitter and winning the World Series with the Astros, Mike Fiers moved on to Detroit, and eventually to Oakland, where he has pitched since 2018.
In 2019, he outed the Astros for sign stealing during their 2017 championship run in an article from tThe Athletic (no pun intended). It’s quite odd that he waited two years to do this, and it’s also quite odd that he hasn’t pitched against the Astros since the story broke.
It’s safe to say that this added quite a bit of fire to the Athletics-Astros rivalry. The two teams got into a bench-clearing brawl during the 2020 season, started by the Athletics’ Ramon Laureano, who was a former Astros prospect and a currently suspended player for PEDs.