Welcome to the 2020 Major League Baseball playoffs! It’s a very unique scenario this year with 16 teams in the field, the most ever. Don’t be surprised if it stays that way going forward as the owners like expanded playoffs because that’s when they really cash in.
MLB Schedule | 2020
Aside from the additional teams, the other drastic change to this year’s postseason is how condensed it is. The wild-card series will be three games in three days; the division series will be five games in five days instead of five over seven; and the league championship series will be seven games in seven days instead of seven in nine. The World Series then reverts to the traditional format with off days after Games 2 and 5.
The Washington Nationals did not make it into this year’s MLB playoffs, so Major League Baseball will crown a different team as champion in 2020.
The best-of-3 Wild Card Round will all be held at the home parks of the higher-seeded team. For example, the Tampa Bay Rays are the top seed in the American League and will host the Toronto Blue Jays. The Los Angeles Dodgers are the top seed in the NL and host the No. 8 Milwaukee Brewers
After the Wild-Card Round, all series will be held at neutral sites. The ALDS series will be split across Petco Park in San Diego and Dodger Stadium in L.A. The ALCS will be at Petco Park. The NLDS will be split across Dallas and Houston and the NLCS in Dallas. The World Series also will be held at Globe Life Park in Dallas (technically Arlington), home of the Rangers. A bubble approach for MLB will help minimize the risk of another coronavirus outbreak. Both the Marlins and Cardinals had major outbreaks this year – yet both made the playoffs.
The Wild-Card Round begins on Tuesday across numerous TV channels. The four NL series will get underway Wednesday, when there will be eight total playoff games on the same day for the first time in history.
One may surprise you. Major League Baseball will see games aired on ABC nationally for the first time since 1995. The last MLB games that ABC aired involved the World Series between the Cleveland Indians and Atlanta Braves (games 1,4, and 5. NBC aired games 2, 3, and the deciding game 6).
The Dodgers are +325 favorites to win their first World Series since 1988. They should be favored as they were clearly the best team in the majors during the regular season. L.A. was 15-1-4 in series this year. They were 16-4 in interleague play, matching their all-time interleague mark of 16-4 set in 2017.
L.A.’s winning percentage of .717 was the best in the majors and tops in club history (previously .682 in 1899 and 1953). It was the first .700+ win percentage season by an NL team since the 1909 Pirates (110-42, .724). The Honus Wagner led-Pirates defeated the Detroit Tigers in the World Series that season.
The long shots to win the World Series are the Milwaukee Brewers at +3500 because they have to play the Dodgers in the Wild-Card Round. The Dodgers and Brewers met in the 2018 NLCS, won by L.A. in seven. Star Brewers reliver Josh Hader feels like the Brewers have some unfinished business with the Dodgers and with how their 2018 season ended, and that the Crew is looking to “finish things out the right way” this time. Only 10 members of this current roster were on that 2018 NLCS team, and two of them, Corbin Burnes and Manny Pina, are injured and will miss the series.
Burnes was one of the best pitchers in MLB this year so that won’t help. He’s dealing with a left oblique strain. Burnes finished with a 2.11 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 88/24 K/BB ratio over 59 2/3 innings.
Here are the NL Wild Card Series matchups:
- Los Angeles Dodgers (43-17) vs. (8) Milwaukee Brewers (29-31)
- Atlanta Braves (35-25) vs. (7) Cincinnati Reds (30-29)
- Chicago Cubs (34-26) vs. (6) Miami Marlins (31-29)
- San Diego Padres (37-23) vs. (5) St. Louis Cardinals (30-28)
- Here are the AL Wild Card Series matchups:
- Tampa Bay Rays (40-20) vs. (8) Toronto Blue Jays (32-28)
- Oakland Athletics (36-24) vs. (7) Chicago White Sox (35-25)
- Minnesota Twins (36-24) vs. (6) Houston Astros (29-31)
- Cleveland Indians (35-25) vs. (5) New York Yankees (33-27)
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