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Breaking down AL West division race heading into final month of MLB season

With one month to go in the season, can the A’s or Mariners catch the Astros in first place? We take a look.

Yordan Alvarez of the Houston Astros is greeted in the dugout after a solo home run against the Texas Rangers in the fifth inning at Globe Life Field on August 29, 2021 in Arlington, Texas. Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

The Houston Astros have been alone atop the American League West since June 21. A couple of playoff contenders are trying to keep pace, but do either of them have a chance of surpassing Houston and winning the West? Let’s analyze how you should approach this situation with odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook.

Standings

Houston Astros (78-53)
Oakland Athletics (72-59) — 6.0 GB
Seattle Mariners (70-62) — 8.5 GB

The Astros’ lead shrunk to as little as two games back on Aug. 11 as their offense went dormant and they dropped six of eight games. However, they have righted the ship recently and now hold a pretty substantial advantage once again.

Odds

Astros -2000
Athletics +1400
Mariners +7500

Stating the obvious, Houston is the prohibitive favorite. The Oakland Athletics deserve a lot of credit for always being competitive despite their financial constraints, and the Seattle Mariners are actually a little ahead of schedule. But with Chris Bassitt likely done for the season, that leaves a huge void in Oakland’s rotation.

Meanwhile, the Astros’ offense is still the best in baseball — significantly ahead of the Athletics’ and far better than the Mariners’ — and their pitching staff is about to improve with the return of starter Jose Urquidy. Plus, Kendall Graveman has really helped their bullpen, which was a weak spot prior to the trade deadline. The Mariners really need to make up ground over the next week as they will face the ‘Stros a handful of times. But Houston will come out of that stretch with 14 straight games against the Angels, Rangers or D-backs.

It wouldn’t be terribly surprising if the Astros have clinched the AL West by the end of that run on Sept. 23. If there is any movement in these standings, it will come between the A’s and the Mariners. Houston will take home its fourth division title in five years.

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