MLB playoff standings: Where things stand in the AL West as the Houston Astros, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Angels battle for the postseason.
A certain publication may have seen this coming, but it would have been hard to predict just how dominant Houston would be from start to finish. The Astros have been in first place all but five days this season, and have led the division outright since April 14, after their 11th game of the season. The lead reached double-digits in late May, and even after a brief stretch of difficulty, they have not been seriously challenged.
The Angels overcame the absence of Mike Trout for six months to a thumb injury to hang in the wild-card race, where they've been joined the Mariners and two-time defending division champion Rangers. Only the A's, going through another round of rebuilding, have not been able to realistically shoot for the postseason this year.
This has been the division of big changes. The Rangers arrived in 1972 from Washington, where they had played in the AL East as the second version of the Senators; the Mariners joined via expansion in 1977; the Angels have changed their first name from California to Anaheim to Los Angeles; and the Astros arrived from the NL Central for the 2013 season when MLB decided it wanted two 15-team leagues.
Even the lone seemingly stable team has been through plenty of flux. The Athletics came to Oakland from Kansas City for the 1968 season and have been in the same ballpark, with the same name, ever since. But they've balanced periods of poverty with extreme success, winning a division-best 16 titles, including five straight from 1971 to '75 that featured three consecutive World Series titles in the middle of that run.
From 1994 to 2012, this was the only division in baseball to consist of just four teams. During that time, it was well balanced, as each club won at least three titles and none won more than five.
Division Titles: 7 (1980, 1981, 1986, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001)
Los Angeles Angels
Division Titles: 8 (1979, 1982, 1986, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2014)
Division Titles: 16 (1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1981, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2012, 2013)
Division Titles: 3 (1995, 1997, 2001)
Division Titles: 7 (1996, 1998, 1999, 2010, 2011, 2015, 2016)