The 2020 MLB playoffs are here, just like everyone expected them to go down this year. The teams are set, and the playoff bracket is expanded to include more games than ever. With that in mind, I’m going to give you all a breakdown of how the entire playoffs are going to go. Fill out your brackets accordingly.
ALWC 1: Tampa Bay Rays vs. Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays were so close to avoiding this matchup, but now they’ll have to deal with the Rays and the MLB’s #3 pitching staff (based on ERA). The teams ended with similar offensive numbers, and despite a great year from Hyun Jin Ryu (2.69 ERA and 72 SO in 12 games), the starters for the Tampa scare me a lot more than Toronto’s, especially the top two of Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow. Rays in 2.
ALWC 2: Cleveland Indians vs. New York Yankees
The Yankees have severely disappointed this year, outside of Luke Voit and DJ LaMahieu. Who predicted Voit to have more homers this year (22) than Aaron Judge (9) and Giancarlo Stanton (4) combined? Yes, both were hurt, but they still played almost as many games combined (51) as Voit (56). Anyway, I predict the disappointment will continue against the Indians, who will start presumptive Cy Young winner Shane Beiber in Game 1, following with Carlos Carrasco and Zach Plesac for the rest of the playoff. Indians in 3.
ALWC 3: Minnesota Twins vs. Houston Astros
The Astros have not looked the same this year. I wonder why? Anyway, this team is a shell of its former self on offense, and the Twins have looked very good this year. I would really love to see Nelson Cruz especially go off on them this series. Twins in 2.
ALWC 4: Oakland A’s vs. Chicago White Sox
Despite the seeding, I think you have to go with the White Sox here. The A’s are without their star in Matt Chapman, while Jose Abreu is an MVP candidate. The A’s may be able to put up somewhat of a fight, but the White Sox will fight right back. Sox in 2.
NLWC 1: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Milwaukee Brewers
LA is the best team in the league on paper. The Brewers barely scraped into the playoffs. Sorry, Brew Crew, but it’s not hard to guess this one. Dodgers in 2.
NLWC 2: San Diego Padres vs. St. Louis Cardinals
Personally, I’m rooting for the Padres this playoffs. I love Fernando Tatis Jr., and being the new home of Mitch Moreland also helps in their favor. The Cardinals, to me, feel like a team on the downswing (although I don’t know how far down they’ll go). They still have some very good players, but after the trades San Diego pulled off midseason, I think they might be better than their record indicates. Padres in 2.
NLWC 3: Chicago Cubs vs. Miami Marlins
The Marlins were truly a surprise team this year, getting a lot of great play from Miguel Rojas (.304/.396/.496) in particular. And hey, the got former Red Sox catcher Ryan Lavarnway in for a couple games! That said, the Cubs are still the better team, and I’m expecting Javier Baez (.203 AVG) and Kris Bryant (.206 AVG) to pick it up some in this playoff. Cubs in 3.
NLWC 4: Atlanta Braves vs. Cincinnati Reds
The Braves have 2 MVP candidates in Marcell Ozuna (.338 AVG and 18 HRs, leading the MLB) and Freddie Freeman (.341 AVG and 186 OPS+), plus a young star in Ronald Acuna Jr. (155 OPS+). The Reds have Trevor Bauer (1.73 ERA), Luis Castillo (3.21), and Sonny Gray (3.70). Those will be the more exciting matchups, but the series will be decided by CIN’s awful offense (.217 AVG, worst in the majors) vs. Atlanta’s starters not named Max Fried (2.25 ERA). All that said, this will be an intriguing playoff, but I’m going with Atlanta in 3.
ALDS 1: Tampa Bay Rays vs. Cleveland Indians
If my predictions are correct, we’ll see matchups of Ryan Yarbrough (3.56 ERA) vs. Aaron Civale (4.74), Charlie Morton (4.74) vs. Triston McKenzie (3.24), and Blake Snell vs Shane Bieber to start the series. I see the Rays going all the way because of how they play as a team, much like the 2004 Pistons. Tampa in 4.
ALDS 2: Minnesota Twins vs. Chicago White Sox
I do like Minny, but I like the White Sox more. I’m predicting a full back-and-forth playoff, with Chicago ultimately upsetting. It helps that they’ll be playing on a neutral field, which I think will help the lower seed more here. White Sox in 5.
NLDS 1: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Diego Padres
These are the two best teams in the playoffs, in my opinion, but it’s hard for me to bet against the stacked team that is the Dodgers. the Padres look great as well, so this will be another full series. LA in 5.
NLDS 2: Chicago Cubs vs. Atlanta Braves
Both these teams have serious holes, but they stilled topped their respective divisions. I’ve been having a lot of trouble predicting this series, because Atlanta’s offense is so good, but their pitching overall is sub par due to injuries. I think Chicago’s stars will pick up in the Wild Card playoff, but will they carry it to the DS? Can Atlanta get enough from their pitching to give them a shot? A lot of questions here, but ultimately I’ll say Chicago in 5.
ALCS: Tampa Bay Rays vs. Chicago White Sox
Two teams that I think will be great for a long time after this year. There’s a lot to celebrate if you’re a Chicago fan, but I think it stops here for them. They’re good enough to upset Minnesota, but not the Rays. Plus, the Rays should benefit from a little extra time off. Tampa in 6.
NLCS: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Chicago Cubs
Like I said before, the Dodgers have the best team in the playoffs and the Cubs have some holes in their team to help them get to the World Series. I’m predicting a gentleman’s sweep for LA over the Cubbies.
World Series: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Tampa Bay Rays
Here it is, what we all should expect: the two top teams of each league making it to the World Series. It’s a boring pick, I know, but the Dodgers are just too good and the Rays are too cohesive for me to see either going home early. We’ll see if any injuries have an effect here, but otherwise I’m going with the Dodgers in 6 and my guy Mookie Betts going home with World Series MVP.
Champion: Los Angeles Dodgers
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– Pat Shuman (@PShu1996 on Twitter)