For the sixth time in the last seven seasons, the Houston Astros have won the American League West division. The only year since 2016 they weren't division champs was the abbreviated 2020 season and they ended up in the ALCS anyway.
The 2023 title hung in the balance until the final day of the season and the Astros needed help. They got that assistance in the form of a Mariners win over the Rangers (SEA 1, TEX 0). The Astros also had to take care of their own business in Arizona and did so with an 8-1 victory. Cristian Javier threw very well and Alex Bregman had a big game at the plate.
Once again, the Astros reign supreme in this division.
This season was quite the roller coaster for the defending World Series champs. They trailed by 6.5 games at one point and only ended up sitting in first place for 24 days. They were never even alone in first place until Sept. 2. They held a lead until Sept. 20, but then were swept at home by the lowly Royals and fell 2.5 games back. The Mariners taking two of three from the Rangers left the door open and the Astros ended up 90-72, the exact same record as the Rangers. The Astros won the season series over the Rangers, in rather emphatic fashion, nine games to four, so they win the division with that tiebreaker.
Looping back to that sweep at the hands of the Royals, one of the funky things about this Astros season was playing so poorly at home. They finish an outstanding 51-30 on the road, but they went just 39-42 at home. It was their first losing record at home since 2014.
Regardless, they now head to October where they've been an absurdly tough out. While more than a handful of 100-win teams have had early exits in the last decade, the Astros have advanced to at least the ALCS each of the last six seasons. Their results:
2017: Won World Series
2018: Lost ALCS
2019: Lost World Series
2020: Lost ALCS
2021: Lost World Series
2022: Won World Series
They'll once again start past the Wild Card Series, as the Astros earned the second seed in the AL and get a bye to the ALDS. They'll await the winner of the Blue Jays-Twins series, while the other side of the bracket sees the Orioles waiting on the winner of the Rangers-Rays series.