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.
On Friday evening, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association announced the first set of results for COVID-19 testing as part of the mandatory intake screening process under MLB’s COVID-19 Health Monitoring & Testing Plan. Per Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, the Athletics are not part of this data because their testing has not yet been completed.
There were 38 positive tests, accounting for 1.2% of the 3,185 samples collected and tested. 31 of the 38 individuals who tested positive are players. 19 different teams had one or more individuals test positive.
Sports Illustrated’s Emma Baccellieri notes that the positive test rate in the U.S. nationally is 8.3 percent. The NBA’s positive test rate was 7.1 percent. MLB’s positive test rate is well below average. This doesn’t necessarily mean that anything is wrong with MLB’s testing or that it’s an atypical round of testing. Rather, MLB’s testing population may more closely represent the U.S. population as a whole. Currently, because testing is still somewhat limited, those who have taken tests have tended to be those exhibiting symptoms or those who have been around others who have tested positive. If every single person in the U.S. took a test, the positive test rate would likely come in at a much lower number.
Several players who tested positive have given their consent for their identities to be made known. Those are: Delino DeShields (link), Brett Martin (link), Edward Colina, Nick Gordon, and Willians Astudillo (link). Additionally, Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodríguez has not shown up to Red Sox camp yet because he has been around someone who tested positive, per The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey.