The race remains incredibly tight for the American League West with the Houston Astros holding a slim half game lead after beating Baltimore last night. Both the Rangers and Mariners have played better recently which has led to the division being the most highly contested race as we go into the final games of the season.
While this isn't the best stretch of baseball the Astros have played this season as they have lost three straight series now, they remain in a good spot to make the playoffs this year and should be in the running for the AL West crown to the bitter end.
Houston Astros Magic Number and Playoff Odds - 9/12
As of today, the Houston Astros magic number to win the AL West over the Rangers and Mariners sits at 10. This does not account for tiebreakers, but it is important to note that the Astros hold the tiebreaker over the Rangers while Seattle would get the nod in a tie with Houston. With just nine games left on their schedule, the closeness of this race means that any series sweep in either direction is going to have a dramatic impact on these teams' playoff chances and seeds down the stretch.
While the division race remains extremely close, Houston remains in control of their own destiny. Looking to the prediction engines, Fangraphs still has the Astros with a 53.1% chance of winning the division and a 90.8% of making the playoffs. Baseball-Reference seems to feel similarly as they have Houston with an 84.6% of making it to the postseason and a 51.4% chance of winning the AL West.
Those are a lot of words to say that this race continues to be the closest one in the entire league and given how all three of these teams are playing right now, anything could happen with just nine games left in the 2023 season.