MLB Playoff Bracket if season ended today: Seattle sweep pushes Astros to the brink

Getting swept by the Mariners could not have come at a worse time for the Astros.
Seattle Mariners v Houston Astros
Seattle Mariners v Houston Astros / Bob Levey/GettyImages

There is no denying that getting swept by the Mariners over the weekend was a disaster for the Houston Astros. The Astros had a prime opportunity to make up some ground on the Rangers who have also been struggling and the sweep has allowed Seattle to push themselves firmly into the AL wild card race. It could have only gone worse if the Rangers had picked up some wins, but fortunately they have lost four straight so their lead in the AL West remains at 2.5 games.

Look, sometimes you just run into a team that has gotten hot and that is definitely what Seattle is at the moment with a six game winning streak thanks in large part to Julio Rodriguez being on the heater to end all heaters. However, if you look at the current playoff picture in the American League, it is clear that Houston really needs to chase down Texas in the division and getting swept was decidedly not great as a result.

The Astros really need to win the AL West for the best path in the playoffs

As of 8/21, the current seeds for the playoffs on the American League side of things are as follows:

1. ) Baltimore Orioles - First round bye

2.) Texas Rangers - First round bye

3.) Minnesota Twins - Lead AL Central

4.) Tampa Bay Rays - First Wild Card

5.) Houston Astros - Second Wild Card

6.) Seattle Mariners - Third Wild Card

For the uninitiated, there is a newish playoff structure that was put in place during the last CBA negotiations. Assuming these exact standings hold at the end of the season, the Astros would have to deal with a first round matchup against the Rays which is far from ideal. If you are looking for a silver lining to the Mariners' latest run, it may actually be good news to be the third wild card this year as that means a matchup with the Twins who don't scare anybody right now. However, the Blue Jays are lurking just outside of a wild card spot as well and being in that last WC spot is one Toronto hot streak from getting bounced from the playoffs altogether.

In an ideal world, Houston would be able to chase down the Rangers for the AL West title. That would all but assure them a first round bye in the playoffs and give them some much needed rest days during the first round. Plus, it would guarantee that they would face the winner of the 3/6 seed series which seems like it would be a favorable matchup.

In short, getting swept by the Mariners was definitely bad and has seen the Astros' playoff odds take a hit. However, they are far from dead in the water and they still have a couple paths in the postseason could lead to another deep playoff run....assuming they can close this season out.

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