At this point, with six games remaining, the Astros have only the narrowest chance of winning the AL West. They are 2.5 games behind the Rangers. If they win four of their remaining six games and the Rangers lose five of their remaining seven, the two teams tie and the Astros hold the tiebreaker.
Of course, it would be better if the Astros won out from here on. And it starts tonight against the Astros’ main competitor for the third Wild Card slot, the Mariners. The Astros are a half-game ahead of the Mariners, who have seven games to play. Whichever team wins the series has a huge advantage going forward. And if either team can sweep, the other team is practically eliminated.
Objectively, the Astros seem to have the worst odds of making the playoffs among the remaining competitors. For one, two of the three pitching matchups between the Astros and Mariners favor the Mariners, including tonight’s between Justin Verlander and Luis Castillo.
Secondly, as you all know, the Astros are in a tailspin, having lost nine of their last 12 games, including seven of nine to the league’s two worst teams. They come into Seattle appearing physically, mentally, and emotionally tired.
Third, the Mariners and the other Wild Card competitor, the Blue Jays, hold the tiebreaker against the Astros.
In truth, the Mariners can better afford to lose two games in this series than the Astros.
Ideally, the Astros win out the season, and the Mariners sweep the Rangers in the final series of the season.
Or, as Jim Carey famously said, “you’re saying there’s a chance?”
Sometimes fairy tales come true.
For more on this game and the series check out Kevin’s analysis HERE.