Hard as it is to believe, we’re less than two weeks away from the conclusion of the 2023 MLB regular season. The playoff picture is beginning to take shape — although in the American League, things remain pretty wide open. Sure, the Minnesota Twins finally ran away with the AL Central (though that says more about the state of that division than the Twins), but beyond that, the other two divisions could very well go down to the wire. Here we’ll focus on the AL West, where the lead has seemingly changed hands every other day over the last couple of weeks and three teams sit within just a half-game of first place.
MLB playoff picture: AL West standings
- Houston Astros: 85-68
- Texas Rangers: 84-68 — 0.5 GB
- Seattle Mariners: 84-68 — 0.5 GB
- Los Angeles Angels: 69-83 — 15.5 GB
- Oakland Athletics: 46-106 — 38.5 GB
It seems like just yesterday that all three of the Astros, Rangers and Mariners were looking like world-beaters — now this is as much a war of attrition as anything else. Texas snapped its second-half swoon with a huge four-game sweep in Toronto last week ... then gave it all back by getting swept by the Guardians in Cleveland last weekend. With Max Scherzer out for the year, Nathan Eovaldi looking like a shell of himself and question marks just about everywhere else in the rotation, it’s unclear whether the Rangers will be able to hold out for two more weeks. Speaking of which: Seattle was the hottest team in baseball for a full month, but they’ve struggled to an 8-11 record in September — although they did take care of business and sweep the A’s in Oakland this week. The Astros, meanwhile, had to scramble to avoid a home sweep to the Orioles, this after dropping series to both the Royals and A’s last week.
Still, despite how sorry all three of these teams have looked of late, there remains a ton of talent here, and all three are capable of making a deep run into October — or missing October entirely. The season’s final few days are likely to decide things here: Seattle ends with nine straight against both of the teams above them (six against Texas, three against Houston).