2020 Division Series
Rays in 4
As the MLB Playoffs move into neutral site bubbles, the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays meet at Petco Park in San Diego. The Rays dominated the Yankees in the regular season, winning eight of ten games. The Yankees coming off a sweep of the Indians are healthier than they have been all season. The lineup is clicking, having scored 20 runs in the two games in Cleveland. Pitching, however, might be the Yankees Achilles Heel again as Gerrit Cole is their only reliable starter, and their usually strong bullpen has been leaky at times. The Rays may not have the big-name stars, their lineup does not possess the sexy thunder that leads Sportscenter, but they get the big hits when needed. The Yankees may have the star power, but the Rays have the formula to beat them and will win this series in four games.
Athletics in 5
There is bad blood between these two teams as the Oakland Athletics and Houston Astros who meet in the ALDS at Dodger Stadium. The Athletics finished second to Houston in the past two seasons before 2020 and were angered when the sign-stealing news broke about the Astros. Oakland won seven of ten games against the arch-rivals, with one game featuring a bench-clearing incident between Ramon Laureano and a Houston coach. The Astros who finished 29-31 benefited by playing the Twins in the Wild Card series, as Minnesota extended their losing streak to 18 games. The A’s meanwhile overcame a loss in Game 1 to defeat the White Sox. The Astros pitching came up big against the punchless Twins, but with a longer series, it is hard to see them matching that against Oakland who survives in five games.
Dodgers in 5
The Los Angeles Dodgers have arrived in Arlington, and they are hoping to be there until the end of the month. The new ballpark will play host to the NLCS and World Series, and the Dodgers, who won 43 games, are the favorite to win both, but first, they must get past the young and hungry San Diego Padres in the NLDS. The Padres showed the ability to comeback rallying to win Game 2 of the Wild Card series to beat the Cardinals. The Padres possess a dynamic, powerful lineup led by Fernando Tatis Jr. San Diego does not have the pitching needed to beat the Dodgers. Still, they should push this series to the limit, as they played well against them in the regular season. The Dodgers also have a strong lineup and the pitching that is needed to win in October.
Braves in 4
The Miami Marlins have never lost a postseason series, winning the World Series as a Wild Card in 1997 and 2003. They were the most incredible playoff team in 2020 after 105 losses in 2019 and losing 18 players to COVID at the start of the season. In the Wild Card Series, they stunned the Cubs, allowing just one run in two games. The Atlanta Braves did them one better, allowing zero runs in 22 innings against the Reds. The Braves won six of ten meetings against Miami and have their pitching set for the Division Series. The Braves bats awoke late against Cincinnati, but with two MVP candidates in Freddie Freeman and Marcel Ozuna, it is hard to see them falling in Houston unless the Marlins find the Astros trash can.