Entering the series with Houston, Mariners fans were rightfully proud of their team’s 13-2 record, and they were sure to let the world know they thought Seattle was the best team in the division.
The truth: it has all been a mirage. Friday, April 12, was just the first time the Astros showed Seattle, the division, all of baseball, and some of their own doubting fans that Houston will own the AL West for the 2019 season.
Perhaps that is too hot a take for some to handle. I wanted to write this article before Friday night. I decided to wait for some proof before I brought the heat.
Why is Seattle a mirage, you may ask. Let me put this in terms a college football fan can appreciate. If your team started by winning the first three games of the year, but did so by beating two FCS teams and a team predicted to go 7-5 that year, how excited should you really be? Would you be expecting a playoff spot? No, you would wait until you had played other teams that have been playing well. This is an exaggeration, but is essentially the story of Seattle’s first five series before playing the Astros. Let’s break it down.
The combined records of the teams the Mariners have played this season before the Astros is 31-44. This would project to a terrible 67-95 full regular season record. While one can point to the Rex Sox to refute this strength of schedule argument, the Red Sox have been in a severe funk to start this season. The teams that Seattle has played have started off terribly. Of course, one can say they have been terrible because they have played the Mariners, but even that is not exactly true. Without their combined 2-13 record vs. Seattle, the Mariners’ opponents have been 29-31 (78-84 projected) this season. The teams Seattle has played are mediocre at best, overall. Here are the details:
Now let’s build the comparison of the soft Seattle schedule to what the Astros have faced.
The combined records of the teams the Astros have played this season before the Mariners is 33-27. This would project to a strong 89-73 full regular season record. The teams playing the Astros are all projected to be possible postseason teams, with the exception of the Rangers. Without their combined 5-8 record vs Houston, the Astros opponents have been incredibly strong at 28-19 (97-65 projected) this season. The teams Houston has played are a championship contender at worst. Here are the details:
The truth is that the Astros’ 8-5 record before the Seattle series is just as impressive as Seattle’s 13-2 record before the Houston series. Now, after the Astros have taken the first two games in Seattle, perhaps you will believe me. Believe me now or listen to me later, the AL West belongs to the Houston Astros. Welcome to Baseball Paradise.