With under 50 games left in the major league season, all eyes are on the divisional races as teams fight for their postseason lives. Let’s take a look at the American League West and how each team stacks up as we come down the homestretch.
This division has played out how most expected, with the Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics competing for the division title. The Seattle Mariners have probably played better than expected, while the Los Angeles Angels have been a bit worse, but this was what many expected for the most part.
Check out BetUS to see the odds for all of the divisions.
Houston Astros (70-47)
The Houston Astros currently lead the A.L. West with a 70-47 record and lead the division by 2½ games over the Oakland Athletics. Due to their success, they currently have the best odds of winning the division (-500) and the second-best odds of winning the World Series (+500), according to BetUs.
The Astros’ success has been due in large part to one of the most dominant offenses in baseball. They currently rank first in runs per game (5.40), batting average (.266), RBIs per game (5.18) and on-base percentage (.339) while leading the American League in run differential (+167).
The offense is led by second baseman Jose Altuve. He is hitting .273/.350/.487 with a team-leading 25 home runs and 83 runs scored. He also has 66 RBIs.
One of Houston’s biggest strengths is the depth of its lineup. The Astros currently have three players with more than 20 home runs (Altuve, Yordan Alvarez, Kyle Tucker) and, when fully healthy, their No. 8 hitter (Chas McCormick) ,has 11 home runs in just 198 at-bats.
There have been some concerns with health. Alex Bregman has been out since June 16 with quad and hamstring injuries and it is unclear when he will return. Tucker was also recently put on the injured list due to health and safety protocols.
The shakiest part of the Astros earlier in the season was the bullpen, but general manager James Click did a nice job of addressing that at the trade deadline. In fact, according to MLB.com Astros beat reporter Brian McTaggart, “… In 38 ⅓ innings (in August), Astros relievers have struck out 44 and allowed 25 hits, five earned runs and just one homer in the month.”
The Astros also have the fourth-easiest strength of the remaining schedule as their opponents have a combined winning percentage of just .481.
Astros Homestretch Grade: A+
Oakland Athletics (68-50)
Putting a lot of pressure on the Astros are the Oakland Athletics. According to BetUs, they are +325 to win the division and +1600 to win the World Series this year.
Even though they sit second in the division, they hold one of the two Wild Card spots alongside the Boston Red Sox.
Oakland has been red hot as of late, winning 12 of its last 16 games.
The A’s offense has been led by first baseman Matt Olson. He is hitting .285/.379/.578 and leads the team in home runs (30), RBIs (79) and runs scored (76).
While his season has been somewhat overshadowed in the American League by the likes of Shohei Ohtani and Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Olson is still +4000 currently to win the AL MVP award.
While the A’s suffered a huge blow by losing Ramon Laureano for the year due to a PED suspension, Oakland has made up for it with their acquisition of Starling Marte. In 14 games with Oakland, Marte is hitting .397/.433/.556 with two home runs, 11 RBIs, 12 runs scored and 10 stolen bases.
One disadvantage for the Athletics is their remaining schedule. They currently have the second-toughest remaining schedule in baseball as their remaining opponents have a winning percentage of .530.
Athletics Homestretch Grade: B+
Seattle Mariners (63-56)
Currently eight games behind the Astros, the Mariners sit at +6600 to win the AL West and +8000 to win the World Series.
The Mariners have been phenomenal at home with a 37-25 record at T-Mobile Park, but they are a disappointing 26-31 on the road.
Unfortunately for Seattle fans, it has a negative run differential (-47).
On the offensive side, it has been outfielder Mitch Haniger leading the team. After missing all of last season, he is hitting .260/.315/.485 with 26 home runs, 66 RBIs and 79 runs scored.
The trade deadline brought mixed emotions for the Mariners. While general manager Jerry Dipoto brought in the likes of Abraham Toro, Joe Smith, Diego Castillo and Tyler Anderson, who he traded away that might have had the biggest impact.
In a deal with the Astros, Dipoto traded away Kendall Graveman (and Rafael Montero) for Toro and Smith. Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times reported that players felt “betrayed” and that “players’ anger was palpable.”
Prior to the trade, the Mariners had won four games in a row. Since the Graveman trade, Seattle is just 8-10.
The Mariners still have a chance for eight games back in the division and five back in the Wild Card. They currently have the 15th-easiest strength of schedule and still have nine games left with Houston to try to cut the deficit, but they need to start winning in a hurry.
Mariners Homestretch Grade: C-
Los Angeles Angels (59-60)
Once again, the Los Angeles Angels have arguably the best player in baseball on their team but will likely miss the postseason. The Angels are 12 games back in the division and 10 back in the Wild Card.
Injuries have been a big nemesis as both Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon have missed a sizable chunk of the season, but the pitching has been the biggest concern. The Angels rank 25th in ERA (4.73) and scoring defense, allowing 4.99 runs per game to opponents.
Despite their struggles, the Angels do have the odds-on-favorite to win the AL MVP in Shohei Ohtani (-800). Ohtani has been fantastic, hitting .269/.362/.655 with 39 home runs, 86 RBIs, 78 runs scored and 17 stolen bases. He has also been solid on the mound. In 17 games, he is 7-1 with a 2.93 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 112 strikeouts in 92 innings.
Unfortunately, with such a deficit in the standings and the 12th-toughest strength of schedule remaining, it appears that the Angels will once again be on the outside looking in this postseason.
Angels Homestretch Grade: D-
Texas Rangers (42-76)
At 42-76, the Texas Rangers have the second-worst record in the AL and the third-worst in baseball. As a result, they are 28.5 games out of first in the division and 26 games back of a Wild Card spot.
While not officially out of the race, the likelihood of winning the division is so low that BetUs doesn’t even give them odds to win it. Texas is sub-.500 at home (28-31) and has been especially atrocious on the road (14-45).
One bright spot has been outfielder Adolis Garcia. The 28-year-old is hitting .245/.289/.478 with a team-leading 26 home runs, 70 RBIs and 55 runs scored.
At the deadline, they continued their rebuild as they traded away both outfielder Joey Gallo (Yankees) and their best starting pitcher, Kyle Gibson (Phillies).
Texas currently has the 11th-toughest remaining schedule, with opponents having a combined winning percentage of .510.