Though seeding is still pending, current 2020 MLB postseason matchups are in pitch-perfect. Here’s who we think are playoff-bound in the AL.
With the 2020 MLB postseason around the corner, the eight AL playoff teams have almost assuredly been decided with little more than a week to play. If the season ended today, the matchups could be called “Youth Must Be Served,” “(Pitching) Rubber Meets the Road,” “Injury Loves Company,” and “The Big Boppers.”
All first-round series games are played in a best-of-three format, with the top seed being the home team. But that is a moot point after MLB decided to hold the playoffs in a bubble, playing the game without fans at either Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles or San Diego’s Petco Park. There are no scheduled (or unscheduled) days off between games because, as Tony! Toni! Toné! reminded us, “It Never Rains In Southern California.”
More from Call to the Pen
- Philadelphia Phillies, ready for a stretch run, bomb St. Louis Cardinals
- Philadelphia Phillies: The 4 players on the franchise’s Mount Rushmore
- Boston Red Sox fans should be upset over Mookie Betts’ comment
- Analyzing the Boston Red Sox trade for Dave Henderson and Spike Owen
- 2023 MLB postseason likely to have a strange look without Yankees, Red Sox, Cardinals
“Youth Must Be Served.” A case could be made that no other teams in the American League have benefitted more from a 60-game season than the Chicago White Sox and Toronto Blue Jays. Being so young, they didn’t experience the grind of a 162-game season.
These are the two most fun teams in the league to watch. While Toronto has faced more adversity, including being homeless at the start of the season, they have managed to win. But the White Sox seem to be in perfect harmony.
“(Pitching) Rubber Meets the Road.” The Tampa Bay Rays and Cleveland Indians have two of the top staffs in the AL. They also have two of the lowest team batting averages among playoff contenders (with the Oakland A’s).
In a short series, the Rays can bring out Tyler Glasnow, Blake Snell, and their hottest starter going into the playoffs. The Tribe will trust Shane Bieber, Carlos Carrasco, and have Brad Hand as a closer who could be a difference-maker. Baseball strategy plays out over brute strength.
“Injury Loves Company.” The Oakland Athletics were cruising, getting walk-off wins, and building a cushion in the AL West. Then they hit a few sour notes.
Lefty pitching prospect A. J. Puk made his frequent stop to the disabled list, team leader Matt Chapman was lost for the season with hip surgery and invaluable utilityman Chad Pinder (Chapman’s would-be replacement) suffered a severe hamstring pull.
The Houston Astros have dealt with the loss of Justin Verlander and Yordan Alverez and numerous injuries to the everyday lineup. Instead of Dodger Stadium or Petco Park, this series could be played at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
“The Big Boppers.” With Chicago in the middle, the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins have two of the top three home run totals in the AL. Neither team will have the benefit of their longball-friendly home stadiums, although a shorter porch at Dodger Stadium would benefit the Yankees, a team getting healthy at the right time.
Every 2020 MLB Postseason team has strengths and weaknesses, but the current matchups probably couldn’t be better orchestrated. May the best band win.