2020 MLB Postseason: 5 key moments from Tuesday’s playoff action

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 29: Martin Maldonado #15 of the Houston Astros celebrates a win against the Minnesota Twins during game one of the American League Wildcard series at Target Field on September 29, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Houston Astros defeated the Minnesota Twins 4-1.(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 29: Martin Maldonado #15 of the Houston Astros celebrates a win against the Minnesota Twins during game one of the American League Wildcard series at Target Field on September 29, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Houston Astros defeated the Minnesota Twins 4-1.(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

The 2020 MLB postseason kicked off Tuesday. Here’s a look at five key moments and key decisions that determined these AL playoff matchups

The first day of the expanded 2020 MLB Postseason schedule contained several turning points and more than a few surprises.

Probably the biggest of those surprises was the failure of the much-touted Cole-Bieber pitching matchup to develop. In their four-vs-five seed playoff series, the visiting New York Yankees treated Bieber rudely from the outset – Aaron Judge’s two-run first-inning home run – and won 12-3.

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Bieber failed to last five innings, allowing nine hits and seven runs, all of them earned. That was as many earned runs as Bieber had allowed the entire month of September.

Elsewhere, the playoff turning points were more numerous and more decisive. Including the Yankees, three of the four visiting teams won. The Chicago White Sox and Houston Astros both took 4-1 decisions, from the Oakland Athletics and Minnesota Twins respectively.

Only the top-seeded Tampa Bay Rays were able to subdue their lower-seeded playoff opponent. The Rays beat Toronto 3-1.

Some, but hardly all, of the key moments during Tuesday’s playoff action represented brilliance. Several of the key figures emerged from relative obscurity. Did you know Matt Shoemaker was still in the major leagues?

Several also hinged on managerial judgments. If nothing else, Tuesday’s Jays-Rays and Twins-Astros playoff outcomes were both second-guessers delights. In that respect, wily Astros manager Dusty Baker had the last laugh on those who wondered what he was up to pulling Zack Greinke.

As for Twins manager Rocco Baldelli and Jays skipper Charlie Montoyo, they had more to sleep on.

Here’s a synopsis of the five key moments from Tuesday’s opening 2020 MLB Postseason games.