Houston Matters

Astros’ playoff hopes come down to the season’s final week

The defending champions head into the final week of the 2023 regular season — and into a critical series against Seattle — clinging to their playoff lives.


Houston Astro Jeremy Peña holding a bat
Jeremy Peña walks back to the dugout after striking out during Sunday’s loss to the Kansas City Royals.


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Houston baseball fans have been spoiled in recent years with the Astros making the postseason seven of the last eight seasons with two World Series titles to show for that. But, with only six games left in the 2023 regular season, could the Astros end up on the outside looking in during the month of October?

If you look at the team’s play of late the answer is quite possibly yes.

Over the weekend, the Kansas City Royals, a team with one of the worst records in baseball, swept the Astros in Houston's final three home games of the year. This continues an ugly stretch for the team, which has gone 3-9 in their last dozen games, a span that included nine games against the Royals and the Oakland Athletics, both of which have lost more than 100 games this season.

With that, the Astros’ chances of winning the division are looking more unlikely every day. Entering Monday, Houston trails the Texas Rangers by 2.5 games in the American League West.

However, even with all that doom and gloom, there is reason for optimism. If the season ended today, they’d still make the postseason via the third of three AL Wild Card spots. But even that is precarious with the Seattle Mariners only a half game behind them. And three of their last six games are against the Mariners while the other three are against the Arizona Diamondbacks, who are also fighting for their playoff lives.

Again, if you’re looking for more reasons to be optimistic, all the Astros’ remaining games are on the road, where they have a better record. And having games remaining against a team chasing you (in this case, Seattle) could be a good thing — as long as you win some of those. Every win puts them further in the rearview mirror.

The bottom line: the Astros need to win baseball games, and they need to win them now.

In the audio above, Jeff Balke discusses what’s been going wrong for the team, reacts to outfielder Chas McCormick’s recent assessment that “we just don't want it enough right now,” and explains some of his frustrations with how manager Dusty Baker has handled the lineup this season. Balke co-hosts the Bleav in Astros podcast and writes for Houston Press.

Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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