How Does The Remaining Strength of Schedule Impact the AL West

Let’s take a look at the remaining schedule strength for all three contenders in the AL West.
Houston Astros v Boston Red Sox
Houston Astros v Boston Red Sox / Paul Rutherford/GettyImages

The Astros are off today. We’d better get used to Thursdays without Astros baseball for a while, as for the remainder of the regular season, Houston won’t play again on a Thursday. 

These days off will go a long way towards keeping arms fresh and players rested, which will be key down the stretch for both the AL West race and the postseason itself. 

The Astros are of course in a three-horse race for the division crown. Houston currently sits tied with Seattle atop the division, one game clear of the Texas Rangers. The Rangers are sliding and Seattle is red-hot. But what does the schedule the rest of the way tell us about what may happen? Is one team more favored than the other?

Good news ‘Stros fans—it’s Houston…by a landslide. The Astros have 27 games remaining. Their opponents have a combined winning percentage of .457 in those 27 games. Only the White Sox and Tigers have easier finishes to their season. 

The Rangers have a pretty average finish to their schedule. They’ve got 29 games remaining, and their opponent winning percentage of .507 is 15th strongest. 

The Mariners, hot as they may be, have their work cut out for them. They’ve got the 7th strongest schedule left, with opponents having a combined winning percentage of .524. 

The determining factor may be head-to-head. Seattle and Texas will square off seven times the rest of the way, while Houston has three games remaining against each. 

If the Astros can take at least four of six and then the other two trade wins and losses against each other, Houston should be in the driver’s seat. 

Additionally, the off-days favor Houston. The Astros have two more off-days than Seattle and Texas both the rest of the way. For a bullpen struggling as badly as Texas’, that lack of rest could be very impactful. 

One thing to note: the Astros have finished their season series up with the Angels. The Rangers and Mariners each have three games left with Los Angeles since completing their fire sale. 

As long as Houston capitalizes on the nine remaining games against the woeful Athletics and Royals, and then continues to pick off series wins against teams like Arizona, San Diego, New York, and of course, Texas and Seattle, they should be bringing home their sixth-straight full season AL West title.