Is The AL West Already Decided?
Last week the Astros looked dead in the water. The Rangers had heated back up and the Mariners were stalling. This week, the Rangers have stalled the Astros have won five straight and the mariners went 3 - 2.
The Rangers are still in control but the Astros have proven they are not dead. And, the Mariners aren't going anywhere.
Rookie Alex Bregman is hitting .375 with 4 homeruns and 10 RBI, in the last seven days. The rest of the Astros have begun to come alive. Cuban sensation Yulieski Gurriel has now been called up to give the Astros even more depth and power.
The Mariners have been playing great baseball for about three weeks now gaining valuable ground during the Rangers slump and have kept pace with Texas since the Rangers revived their play several weeks ago.
With six weeks left in the 2016 regular season the Mariners are now back only 5.5 games. That means they need to be a game better than the Rangers every week till the end of the season. The Mariners have a great shot at shortening the lead when they play the Rangers in a four game set early in September. This race to the finish is just getting started.
The Astros are 8 games back with six weeks left in the season. I would totally write them off as dead in the water BUT they still have six games left with the Rangers. No, the Astros don't have a good track record against the Rangers lately. The Rangers are 11-2 against the Astros this season and 49 - 21 against them as AL west foes.
That doesn't mean the Astros will lose to the Rangers automatically. They can sweep the Rangers and be within 2 games of the lead on September 11th. That's if they are still at 8 by the time those six games roll along.
The Rangers, to open September, have the most important two weeks of their season. 3 games in Arlington against Houston. Then 4 in Seattle. 3 in Los Angeles. 3 in Houston.
If the Rangers survive that gauntlet then they will have won the West. Theoretically.
Side note: the Rangers signed former Astros outfielder Carlos Gomez to a Minor League deal. He debuted in AAA last night with a 3-5 night, a triple and 2 RBI and a strikeout. He'll start games in left field for the Texas Rangers in 2016.