AL Wild Card

2020 AL Wild Card round Preview

  • 2020 MLB Season
  • MLB
  • MLB playoffs
By Michael Flores September 29, 2020 0 Comment

The 2020 Wild Card round begins tomorrow with the AL going first. Let’s take a look at the AL Wild Card matchups.

The 2020 season is definitely one that will go down in history. The season was shortened due to the COVID-19 outbreak. There were some thoughts that the season would not finish due to outbreaks in several organizations. Luckily, we made it through the 60 game season and playoffs are upon us. MLB decided to add a couple more playoff teams, each league will now have eight teams in the mix. Each division has two teams making it to the playoffs and there will also be two Wild Card teams. The Wild Card round will be a best-of-three series. The higher seed will host in their home town for this series. The AL Wild Card round begins Tuesday, Sept. 29, so let’s take a look at the matchups for this round.

6. Houston Astros @ 3. Minnesota Twins

The Astros have been in the news a lot this year for the cheating scandal that led to them having an amazing season. This is a chance for them to prove that they don’t need those trash cans to get them to the World Series. They will face the AL Central Division champs in the Twins. The Twins had to finish strong to secure the division. With the help of the White Sox struggling the last week, the Twins were able to win the division.

Offensively, both teams have had some pretty identical numbers overall. The biggest differences are the Twins struck out 88 times more in 55 less at-bats. The Astros also hit nine more triples and 22 more doubles. The Twins however hit 22 more home runs.

Twins: .242/.315/.427 91HR 186BB

Astros: .240/.312/.408 69 HR 192BB

Probable matchups:

The Twins have their 3 man rotation set for this series. They will be sending out Kenta Maeda (6-1, 2.70 ERA, 80 SO) in Game 1, Jose Berríos (5-4, 4.00 ERA, 68 SO), Game 2, and Michael Pineda (2-0, 3.38, 25 SO) for Game 3 if necessary. Astros on the other hand, have only announced their Game 1 starter. They will be sending out Zack Greinke (3-3, 4.03 ERA, 67 SO). The Astros pitching staff took a beating this year, six on IL currently, including Justin Verlander. Good chance you will see Lance McCullers Jr. and one of the eight or so rookies they have on the staff starting the other games.

7. Chicago White Sox @ 2. Oakland Athletics

The White Sox struggled in their last week of the season, going 2-8 in their last 10, dropping from a top-3 seed to the 7th.  Only 5 other teams had a lower payroll than Oakland, but they still finished with the 5th best record in baseball. The White Sox were an absolute powerhouse this year. They hit the most home runs in the AL and only the Braves and the Dodgers.

Offensively, the White Sox have been the better team and they love to go up against lefties. Oakland is a patient team, they will take their walks and take advantage on the basepaths. This matchup could depend on defense and Oakland being able to keep the White Sox from going yard.

White Sox: .261/.326/.453 96 HR 179BB

Athletics: .225/.322/.396 71 HR 238BB

Probable matchups:

The Athletics are sending out Jesús Luzardo(3-2, 4.12 ERA, 59 SO), the day before his 24th birthday, to go up against Lucas Giolito (4-3, 3.48 ERA, 97 SO), who threw one of the two no-hitters this season, for Game 1. Game 2 will see Chris Bassitt (5-2, 2.29ERA, 55 SO) going up against Dallas Keuchel (6-2, 1.99 ERA, 42 SO). Neither team has announced a Game 3 starter. The Athletics have a few options in Frankie Montas, Mike Fiers, and Sean Manaea before potentially going to the bullpen. The White Sox options for a Game 3 are not that great. Expect to see one of, if not multiple, Dylan Cease, Dane Dunning, and Reynaldo López.

8. Toronto(Buffalo) Blue Jays @ 1. Tampa Bay Rays

The Blue Jays didn’t know where they were going to call home this season when Canada did not allow them to play at home due to the outbreak. Luckily, they finally found a home in Buffalo. The Rays were one of those teams that had a lower payroll than the Athletics, only two teams had lower payrolls, and they finished with the number 1 seed in the AL. Both teams finished the season strong, Blue Jays 6-4 and Rays 8-2, and are looking to drive the momentum into the playoffs.

Offensively, they are pretty much matched up pretty well. The Rays walked 40 times more in nearly 50 fewer at-bats, but they also struck out 100 times more. Patience and pitching could be the determining factor in this matchup. The Blue Jays have a young squad and it is going to be very interesting to see how they perform in their first, for most of them, playoff experience.

Blue Jays: .255/.325/.441 88 HR 203 BB

Rays: .238/.328/.425/ 80 HR 243 BB

Probable matchups:

The only matchup so far where both teams have already submitted their probable pitchers for all three games. Blue Jays are sending out Matt Shoemaker (0-1, 4.71 ERA, 26 SO), who has had only one start this season over five innings, which was his first start of the year. The Rays are going to send out Blake snell (4-2, 3.24 ERA, 63 SO), who is only one year off a year cut short by an injury and two years off his phenomenal Cy Young winning season. The Blue Jays will send out Hyun Jin Ryu (5-2, 2.69 ERA, 72 SO) in Game 2 and Taijuan Walker (4-3, 2.70 ERA, 50 SO). While the Rays will send Tyler Glasnow(5-1, 4.08 ERA, 91 SO) for Game 2 and Charlie Morton (2-2, 4.74 ERA, 42 SO) in Game 3.

5. New York Yankees @ 4. Cleveland Indians

Just like every other year, the Yankees struggled with the injury bug. It seemed like the entire roster was on the IL at one point. However, they did not struggle offensively. If they were down, it always seemed as if they were just a bloop and a blast away from tying the game or taking the lead. The Indians struggled to hit this year. They were always in games due to their amazing pitching. They even continued to dominate after trading Mike Clevinger to the Padres at the deadline.

In true Yankees fashion, they scored a lot of runs. In fact, they scored the most runs and second in home runs in the AL. Both teams have a solid MVP candidate, DJ LeMahieu and Jose Ramierez. There is a very good chance of one of them winning and the other taking second place. This could potentially be the most exciting matchups in the AL. Great pitching vs great hitting. The winner of this series could potentially make a serious run for the World Series.

Probable matchups:

Game 1 matchup is definitely one you do not want to miss. The Yankees are sending out Gerrit Cole (7-3, 2.84 ERA, 94 SO), who signed a massive deal this past offseason, to go up against the first Pitching Triple Crown winners since 2011 in Shane Bieber (8-1, 1.63 ERA, 122 SO). Reigning Comeback Player of the Year, Cookie Carrasco (3-4, 2.91 ERA, 82 SO), will face Masahiro Tanaka (3-3, 3.56 ERA, 44 SO) in Game 2. Zach Plesac (4-2, 2.28 ERA, 57 SO) will take the mound in Game 3 for the Indians. The Yankees have not announced a probable for Game 3, but they do have several options in J.A Happ, Jordan Montgomery, and rookie Deivi García.

Predictions:

AL Wild Card:

Twins over Astros in 2

White Sox over Athletics in 3

Rays over Blue Jays in 2

Indians over Yankees in 3

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Born on the South Side of Chicago. Manage 2 dynasty teams and a yearly redraft team, also a Little League team. Follow me on Twitter @mpflores90

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