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) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
4 of 6
Next
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

2020 MLB Postseason: At number 3, MVP candidate Jose Abreu goes deep,

The surest sign that the second seed Oakland Athletics were in trouble Tuesday was when they announced that Jesus Luzardo would be their Game 1 starter. Luzardo is a left-hander, and their opponents, the Chicago White Sox, absolutely adore left-handers.

Chicago was 14-0 against left-handers this season, making them the first team to sail through an entire season unbeaten against lefties. Granted, it was just a 60-game season, but still, 14-0 says something. They batted .285 with a .364 on-base and .523 slugging average against lefties this year.

The league averages against all pitchers were .243/.319/.414.

Jose Abreu is Chicago’s offensive centerpiece, both against left-handers and right-handers. In the third inning Tuesday at Oakland, Abreu lit up Luzardo with a two-run home run carrying more than 420 feet to left-center field.

The Sox already led 1-0 at that point thanks to Adam Engel’s second-inning home run. But Abreu’s blast amounted to an affirmation that left-handers proceed against Chicago at their own risk.

They went on to win 4-1 and find themselves in excellent position to wrap up the series Wednesday. That’s when the Sox face Sean Manaea pitching for Oakland. He’s coming off a succession of seven strong performances since mid-August that reduced his ERA by three full points and improved his record to 4-3.

But he’s also a left-hander.