It’s July 24th. You just turned on SportsCenter on ESPN and there’s breaking news regarding the MLB. You think the worst, but then you get a pleasant surprise: the MLB will have a 60% growth in postseason teams this year after the MLB and the MLBPA approved a 16-team playoff format for the 2020 season. All teams will be required to play a best-of-three Wild-Card series set to begin Sept. 29. The additional round of games will be televised on ESPN or TBS. The league goes on to clarify that the eight teams to make the playoffs will consist of three division winners, three second-place teams, and a pair of wild-card contenders. After the wild-card games, the remaining teams will play traditional playoff baseball with a best-of-five divisional series, a best-of-seven pennant series, and the best-of-seven World Series.
OK, that was fun. Back to reality.
It has been quite a unique season for baseball in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions and protocols. Here is the playoff seeding heading into the postseason:
- Tampa Bay Rays (40-20)
- Oakland A’s (36-24)
- Minnesota Twins (36-24)
- Cleveland Indians (35-25)
- New York Yankees (33-27)
- Houston Astros (29-31)
- Chicago White Sox (35-25)
- Toronto Blue Jays (32-28)
- Los Angeles Dodgers (43-17)
- Atlanta Braves (35-25)
- Chicago Cubs (34-26)
- San Diego Padres (37-23)
- St. Louis Cardinals (30-28)
- Miami Marlins (31-29)
- Cincinatti Reds (31-29)
- Milwaukee Brewers (29-31)
And now, here are our predictions on how the playoffs will pan out:
AL Playoff Prediction
(1) Tampa Bay Rays vs. (8) Toronto Blue Jays (Winner: Rays 2-0)
Easy sweep for the Rays here due to their elite pitching staff. Period. Tampa Bay has more talent on offense and more playoff experience. SP Snell gets the nod in Game 1 and SP Glasnow to follow. The Blue Jays are young and riding a hot streak, but it will not be enough to take down these two aces and… the second best team in baseball. If the Blue Jays win, all bets are off.
(2) Oakland A’s vs. (7) Chicago White Sox (Winner: White Sox 2-1)
White Sox get the win in a close series. They have a better rotation; they also have a ton of team chemistry. Both teams are new to the postseason race and looking to prove themselves. The Sox are hotter right now and have faced tougher opponents during the regular season. Keuchel and Giolitto will at least pull one out for the Sox as Chapman underwent season ending hip surgery. White Sox in three.
(3) Minnesota Twins vs. (6) Houston Astros (Winner: Twins 2-0)
Karma is a b*tch…this series will be embarrassing for the Astros. The Twins have a solid bullpen, better bats and will be able to pull away late in games. Bring out the broom baby!
(4) Cleveland Indians vs. (5) New York Yankees (Winner: Yankees 2-1)
The Yankees win it in Game 3 and pull off the first round upset. The Yanks are on fire late and have the most postseason cred. It will come down to Game 1 Bieber vs. Cole. The determining factor: no fans in the stands. This is a huge advantage for Bieber. What we have learned from NBA and the bubble is that the younger players are thriving. Bieber should be more calm in what is typically a pressurized setting. However, even if Cole pulls it out, Jose Ramirez is sizzling right now for the Indians and Plesac could net a win over Tanaka in Game 2. But we don’t live by “what-ifs.” Yankees in three.
(1) Tampa Bay Rays vs. (4) New York Yankees (Winner: Rays 3-1)
Rays have the pitching and the bats to beat their division rival in a very tough series. SP Morton will most likely start Game 1 and get the win. SP Glasnow and SP Snell will do the rest. The Rays handled the Yankees all season, but unlike the early part of the season, the Yanks are healthy and looking for payback. We predict … they don’t get it. Rays win.
(3) Minnesota Twins vs. (7) Chicago White Sox (Winner: White Sox 3-2)
Keeping true to the nature of the “divisional” matchups, we have another series that will feature two divisional foes. Again, we are going with the team with better pitching … and the regular season win percentage for the Sox is a plus! White Sox win in a close Game 5.
(1) Tampa Bay Rays vs. (7) Chicago White Sox (Winner: Rays 4-2)
The cinderella story ends here for the White Sox. Although they have improved dramatically from last season, they honestly don’t have the depth in their rotation to last in a long series. The Rays have an outstanding bullpen and it should carry them to the World Series.
NL Playoff Prediction
(1) Los Angeles Dodgers vs. (8) Milwaukee Brewers (Winner: Dodgers 2-0)
How did this even happen? The Brewers … really? Dodgers win easy. Thank you, next.
(2) Atlanta Braves vs. (7) Cincinatti Reds (Winner: Reds 2-1)
SP Bauer, SP Castillo and SP Gray in a three game series? There is a high chance that Atlanta will be packing up early with a Reds upset. Braves are known to choke even with talent; this is a club that will need to rely heavily on their hitting. Pitching is king in a shortened series and we believe the Reds have the edge in that department. Reds in three.
(3) Chicago Cubs vs. (6) Miami Marlins (Winner: Cubs 2-0)
Cubs were on fire during the regular season playing at home. We see the non-fan attendance as a non-issue for Chicago; this should be an easy one for the Cubbies. The first two games have SP Darvish and SP Hendricks going; we think they snag ‘em both.
(4) San Diego Padres vs. (5) St. Louis Cardinals (Winner: Padres 2-1)
Cardinals are an amazing postseason team, however, they have been finding the exit door in recent years. We believe that the Cards bats will come alive in at least one game but don’t be surprised if the Padres pull the broom out for this one … it’s possible. Even with SP Clevinger hurt, they still have SP Davies and SP Paddack or SP Richards to carry the load in the first two games.
(1) Los Angeles Dodgers vs. (4) San Diego Padres (Winner: Dodgers 3-1)
Can you dig it!? Dodgers versus the Padres in a best-of-five divisional series! Dodgers have a stellar bullpen, higher batting average and better coaching. It may go five games, but experience pays off here. Dodgers get by … at least this year.
(3) Chicago Cubs vs. (7) Cincinatti Reds (Winner: Cubs 3-2)
Signed, Sealed, and Delivered! The Reds have been on fire, but the Cubs handled them easily during the regular season. We’ll give the Cubs the benefit of the doubt, as the Reds will have to wait at least two games to get Bauer back in the mix.
(1) Los Angeles Dodgers vs. (3) Chicago Cubs (Winner: Dodgers 4-1)
Dodgers make the World Series yet again riding on one of the best bullpens in the MLB. The Cubs don’t have the bats to stay alive in this series. The neutral site also plays well for the Dodgers, as the Cubs won’t have their home-field hype. Just a reminder for those who are watching, the Dodgers have not only won every home series, they have also dominated on the road. We see the Dodgers sailing past the Cubs, but because we love those Cubbies, we’ll throw them a game due to SP Darvish.
World Series Prediction : (1) Tampa Bay Rays vs. (1) Los Angeles Dodgers (Winner: Dodgers 4-2)
The boys in blue finally pull it off this season! The Dodgers have the advantage at Globe Life Stadium due to their powerful bats and rock-solid bullpen. The Rays elite pitching staff will have a tough time against this lineup. We will still get some great pitchers duels between Dodgers (SP Kershaw, SP Buehler, and SP Urias) and the Rays (SP Snell, SP Glasnow, SP Morton). But with so much good pitching from both sides, hitting becomes that much more important.
The Dodgers are poised and ready to bring home the trophy; none more so than Corey Seager. This man hit (.307) through the regular season and is our pick to get MVP. Get those virtual champagne parties scheduled, LA.
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