As MLB baseball handicappers like me are aware, this is the home of three of the top four teams in run differential, which speaks just how good this division is at the top.
Both Los Angeles and Oakland are all but assured of making the playoffs, barring a dramatic collapse and Seattle is right in the thick of the Wild Card chase. Let’s take a peak what the next few weeks could look like in the American League West against the betting odds.
Los Angeles Angels
All season, manager Mike Scioscia’s club has been steady, the slumps have been few and the upturns have lasted longer than most teams. The Angels offense has been in the Top 3 for months with Mike Trout and Albert Pujols the leaders and the pitching while not dominant, has been consistent.
Garrett Richards has been the Halos best starter the entire season and his knee injury means others will have to up their games if the L.A. is going to make any noise in the playoffs.
Even more now, the team from Anaheim will want to avoid being the wild card in it’s one and done format and they still have 17 games left with Oakland (10) and Seattle (7).
After being a rock of consistency and a regular play for sports picks versus the MLB odds, Oakland has lost eight of 10 and stumbled into second place. What happened, the bats have gotten quieter and the pitching less reliable. Former Cubs Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel have both pitched worse in a bigger ballpark and been knocked around. Scott Kazmir and Sonny Gray have not been automatic for a month and been hit.
The Athletics body of work is still tremendous, but as a team they have to up their game at crunch time and the general impression is they are feeling pressure. The A’s will have six of their remaining 10 battles with the Angels at home, along with a home and home with Seattle, providing them a chance to control their own destiny.
My first impression of Seattle back in March was they were capable of winning 85 games and being a playoff contender. When word came down they would start the year without all their presumed starting pitchers, I lowered expectations on the Mariners.
However, those pitchers came back and for the past six weeks, Seattle’s staff has been the finest in the American League, at least by the numbers.
The M’s road to the postseason is by far the most difficult among wild card contenders, having the Angels seven times, the A’s for six and facing the hottest team in the Nationals League, Washington, for a three-game series.
Seattle has their work cut out for them, but at least they have the pitching and need to play better at home than current 34-32 record.
Manager Bo Porter could hardly want a better scenario. His young team has improved and against the sportsbooks, Houston has beat expectations all season.
The Astros get to be part of determining the playoffs as an underdog, with 17 matchups versus the teams ahead of them in the standings in the AL West. Houston is +4.7 units as an underdog this season for those using them for MLB picks; this will happen frequently the remainder of the season.
One area to play close attention to the ‘Stros is a nine-game road trip to Oakland, Seattle and Anaheim starting Sept. 5th, that could be brutal.
Texas is the top play against team in the big leagues and all baseball bettors should be on full alert for a potential windfall.
Besides 20 contests with the best three clubs in the division, Texas also has six games with the red-hot Royals and a series with Atlanta. This means 29 of the Rangers remaining 36 contests are against clubs in the heat of the pennant race, good luck!