The Houston Astros might not be in first place in their division, but to think they’re going to miss the playoffs this year is asinine.
It’s a bizarre sight not seeing the Astros at the top of American League West, but they still have a very good chance of making it to the playoffs this year.
For one, the playoffs are expanded due to the shortened season. The expanded playoffs means that eight teams make it in from each league rather than the usual five (every division winner plus two Wild Cards). The three division winners are still locks to make it in, but in these expanded playoffs, the second place teams in the division also get their playoff tickets punched.
The Astros are in second place and shouldn’t finish any lower than that in the AL West.
Let’s just say it — the American League West is atrocious. Only the A’s have a better record than Houston at the moment (Oakland is 20-10 while Houston is 16-13) and the other three teams have losing records. The Rangers and Mariners each only have 11 wins while the Angels have just nine wins on the year.
Fortunately for the Astros, all but four of their remaining games this season are against the weak AL West. They play a makeup game against the Dodgers on Sept. 12 and play a three-game series against the Diamondbacks from Sept. 18-20, but otherwise, it’s all of their AL West foes from here on out.
They do face the Athletics in two different series, which could decide who wins the division and will be important for Houston, but a trip to the playoffs certainly seems imminent for the reigning AL champions. They’re in the midst of a series with the Angels right now and have one more series against them as well as three series against the Rangers and one against the Mariners.
Yes, Houston has had their fair share of struggles this season and several of their big-time players have landed on the injured list, but they’re still a good team and good teams make the playoffs in these circumstances.