Houston Astros push their playoff magic number down thanks to Jose Urquidy

The Houston Astros got a big lift from a familiar face and are on the verge of heading to the playoffs.
Baltimore Orioles v Houston Astros
Baltimore Orioles v Houston Astros / Bob Levey/GettyImages

The Houston Astros' Jose Urquidy has not had the 2023 season he was hoping for. Urquidy spent a large chunk of time on the injured list with a shoulder injury this season and for the last month or so, he has been coming out of the bullpen as a long reliever with some very iffy results. However, the Astros needed him to start last night against the Diamondbacks and he twirled six scoreless innings in Houston's win.

With that win over a very good Diamondbacks team, the Astros are just inches away from securing a spot in the playoffs.

Houston Astros Magic Number

While the Texas Rangers still hold the lead in the AL West, the Astros are just one game back with two games left to play. If Texas continues to struggle the next couple of games and Houston can handle business against Arizona, the Astros hold the season series tiebreaker over the Rangers and could steal the division win.

In terms of Houston's magic number to make the playoffs, it now sits at one after last night's win. The Astros currently occupy the sixth seed in the AL playoff bracket which would mean they would take on the AL Central champion Twins, although there is still a world where they move up to the fifth seed if the Blue Jays falter and the Rangers hold on to win the AL West. In that event, they would take on the Rays who would be a pretty daunting opponent in the wild card round.

Thanks Urquidy stepping up on Friday evening, Houston now can throw Justin Verlander on the mound on Saturday with a chance for Houston to punch their ticket to the postseason and controlling their own destiny. A win tonight means that Houston can start lining up their pitchers the way they want on Sunday, but a loss means that they have to push that much harder on the season's final day to secure their spot.

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