The Mariners' remaining schedule gives them a lot of opportunities
The Astros are not the only team that has a remaining schedule that provides some opportunities as Seattle could make some noise over the final weeks of the season as well. They have had their hands full with the Rays and have a series with the Dodgers coming up soon, but they also have series against Oakland and the Angels coming up where they should be able to handle business. More importantly, they have seven games against the Rangers the rest of the way. If Texas has indeed fully collapsed, Seattle could make up a lot of ground there.
Ultimately, the biggest series left on the schedule for both of these teams is the one that they play against each other September 25-27. Seattle will be at home for that series and Seattle swept Houston the last time they played. If history repeats itself and Seattle dominates the Astros again, that could decide the division on the spot.
Houston's offense is playing their best baseball of the season right now
The best thing that the Astros have going for them right now is that their offense is peaking at exactly the right time. Houston's offense has been tops in baseball by fWAR in the month of September at 2.9 and have an even bigger lead in wRC+ at 155. Yordan Alvarez has been awesome lately and Jose Altuve has five homers this month. Even Jose Abreu, who has struggled to do much of anything this season, has driven in 14 runs over his last eight games.
Even if the Astros' pitching staff continues to falter the rest of the way, they SHOULDN'T cost the Astros the division title if the offense keeps playing like this. That is far from a sure thing but with a bunch of seemingly easy games against some bad teams with suspect pitching, it definitely is good news that the offense is playing their best baseball right now.