The Astros clinched the AL West on Sunday afternoon with a 7-1 victory over the Mariners. It marks the Astros’ first division title since 2001 when they were in the NL Central. They will be back in the postseason for the first time since 2015.
Justin Verlander delivered another strong start, holding the Mariners to one run on three hits and a walk with 10 strikeouts over seven innings. He has given up a total of two runs and 10 hits in three starts since the Astros acquired him from the Tigers at the end of August.
On offense, Derek Fisher, Marwin Gonzalez, George Springer, and Carlos Correa each homered. Every regular in the lineup except Carlos Beltran had at least one hit.
The 91-58 Astros still have meaningful baseball left to play as they are battling the 92-57 Indians for the best record in the American League, which would earn them home field advantage in the playoffs.
The Cleveland Indians have agreed to a minor league deal with outfielder Melvin Upton, Jr.
Upton, 33, battled a torn thumb ligament and a shoulder issue last season, limiting him to only 12 games with Triple-A Sacramento, the Giants’ affiliate. In those 12 games, he hit .244 with one double and one home run. Upton last played in the majors in 2016 with the Padres and Blue Jays with which he posted an aggregate .693 OPS.
Given the injuries suffered by Indians outfielders in the past couple of seasons it can’t hurt to have some options for organizational depth. If he has anything left in the tank, stash him on the bench or down in Columbus. If not, no harm done.