Happy Monday everyone! The final week of September means we have reached the final week of the 2023 MLB regular season — and come this time next Monday, the playoff picture will be crystal clear.
The most entertaining postseason race over the last month has been the topsy-turvy AL West, and we’re in for a dramatic finish over the next seven days. The Texas Rangers, Houston Astros, and Seattle Mariners have all waxed and waned in recent weeks, as each team has laid claim to first place at various points during the home stretch. With the three franchises within just three games of each other entering play on Monday, a hot run or a cold stretch could make or break their division title aspirations altogether.
Below, we’ll take a look at the state of the AL West division race heading into the final week of the season.
MLB playoff picture: AL West standings
- Texas Rangers — 87-68
- Houston Astros — 85-71, 2.5 GB
- Seattle Mariners — 84-71, 3.0 GB
- Los Angeles Angels — 70-86*
- Oakland Athletics — 48-108*
*Eliminated from division title contention
Odds to win AL West at DraftKings Sportsbook
Texas Rangers: -450
Seattle Mariners: +650
Houston Astros: +650
Texas is on top of the AL West heading into the final week of the regular season and its late surge has coincided with a late collapse by Houston. The Rangers have ripped off five straight victories heading into Monday and is riding high following a critical three-game sweep of the Mariners over the weekend. Houston, on the other hand, has lost five of its last six, and after dropping its series against the Orioles, the team was inexplicably swept by a 100+ loss Royals ballclub this weekend.
Fighting for both its division and Wild Card status, there will be immense pressure on the Mariners with what their schedule will be this week. They will have everything to gain/lose, as they will host a three-game series against the Astros before hosting the Rangers for a four-game series to close the regular-season slate. Meanwhile, Texas will open the week with a three-game series at the Angels while Houston will close the week with a three-game series at the Diamondbacks. The tiebreaker scenario between these clubs could be interesting, with the Rangers clinching the season series against the Mariners, the Mariners clinching the season series against the Astros, and the Astros clinching the season series against the Rangers.
As far as predictions go, I think Texas will hang on and wrap the division up by Sunday. The Rangers’ offense is humming, with a league-leading .971 OPS over the last week — and while the Astros and Mariners duke it out in their series, they will get the benefit of playing an Angels club that has already packed it in for the year. A series victory in L.A. and even one or two victories in Seattle should do the job for Texas.