Without question, the AL West is the most intriguing playoff race going into the final weekend of the regular season and the Houston Astros figure to play a prominent role. The Rangers currently hold a two game lead, but they close the season out with a four game series against the Mariners and just lost the first game. The Astros, meanwhile, start their final series of the 2023 season against the Diamondbacks tonight.
The races for the final wild card spots in the NL and AL are closer, but the AL West has the biggest chance to completely upend the AL playoff bracket. Any three of these teams could still win the division (although Seattle needs to win out and the division to be a three way tie for them to be in the mix), all three could teams could head to the playoffs at various seeds, and all three have a chance of missing the playoffs entirely.
As a result, the stakes couldn't be higher entering the 2023 season's final three games.
Houston Astros playoff scenarios
For the particularly fearful Astros fans out there, the most important thing to keep in mind is that the Astros REALLY need to stay ahead of the Mariners. Seattle holds the tiebreaker over Houston, so any two-way tie between the teams would go to the Mariners. Fortunately, the Mariners are up against the Rangers this weekend who are very motivated to try and lock up the division, although Seattle did just rally to beat Texas last night.
Three-way ties are where things get messier. Assuming the Blue Jays get the second wild card spot and the Rangers, Astros, and Mariners end up tied, the Rangers would be out. If the Rangers win the AL West and the Blue Jays, Astros, and Mariners end up in a tie, Houston would be staying home in October as they would lose the winning percentage and season series tiebreakers.
At the end of the day, if the Astros handle business against the Diamondbacks this weekend, they should be a good spot. However, a lot of things can still go wrong especially if the Mariners torch the Rangers this weekend, so strap in and enjoy the chaos of it all.