The Houston Astros clinched the sixth seed in the American League on Friday night despite losing to the Texas Rangers in extra innings.
Houston was the beneficiary of the Los Angeles Angels' 9-5 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. As a result, the Angels were eliminated from postseason contention while simultaneously propelling their division rivals to October baseball.
It's the fifth time in six seasons - and fourth consecutive - that the Astros have reached the playoffs. Despite the prolonged success, the 2020 season has not gone according to plan.
In addition to being exposed for illegally stealing signs in 2017 en route to the first World Series victory in franchise history, the Astros have dealt with numerous injuries and hovered around .500 for much of September.
The Angels failed to capitalize on Houston's struggles. L.A. continues to squander Mike Trout's prime years by failing to reach October for the sixth straight year even after signing Anthony Rendon in the offseason. The Halos have yet to win a postseason game with Trout on the roster.
Houston's first-round opponent has not yet been determined, though it will face the third seed and travel to that team's stadium for a three-game series next week.
Astros manager Dusty Baker became the first skipper in history to guide five different teams to the postseason, according to Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle. It's his 10th playoff berth in 23 seasons as a manager, a run that included an NL pennant in 2002, but he's yet to claim a World Series title.
The 71-year-old is trying to become just the third manager to win a pennant in both leagues.