Last week I offered predictions for the Wild Card Series and I am proud to note that my teams went 7 – 1! The only team to fail me was the Minnesota Twins, as they were eliminated by none other than the Houston Astros… However, that won’t bring my spirits down! This is the 2020 MLB Divisional Series Preview.
#1 Tampa Bay Rays vs #5 New York Yankees
The first matchup I am taking a look at is also one of the hardest matchups to dissect. On one hand, the Tampa Bay Rays have some of the best pitching in the league. But they lack firepower in their lineup. The New York Yankees will have to rely heavily on Gerrit Cole but he hasn’t been as stellar as he was last year. Where the Yankees shine is in their lineup.
The Yankees’ lineup will be tough to silence, almost impossible. But if anyone is going to take down the Yankee bombers, it’s going to be the Tampa Bay Rays. The New York Yankees were one of the underdog predictions that I got right in the last round, so should I stick with them for the Divisional Series predictions?
Even though logic would lean towards pitching, which the Rays definitely have, the Yankees seem to have momentum. The Yankees came up with clutch hits and were energetic in their games against the Cleveland Indians. On the contrary, the Rays seem to struggle to find timely hits and their team seemed to lack passion. I am picking the New York Yankees to advance to the American League Championship Series.
#2 Oakland Athletics vs #6 Houston Astros
The Oakland Athletics showed a lot of warning signs in their first game against the White Sox. But all doubt was erased in their following 2 elimination games. Pitching for them was showing signs of strain but they found ways to put runs on the scoreboard when they needed to.
The Houston Astros swept the Minnesota Twins but did not look that convincing. Their pitching was stellar, only allowing 2 runs in 2 games. However, the first game could have gone different were it not for a late defensive error by the Twins that broke the 1 -1 deadlock.
Even though the Oakland Athletics are very similar to the Minnesota Twins, we expect them to come out on top in the Divisional Series. Seems fitting that it would be the Athletics to eliminate them in Dodger Stadium.
#1 Los Angeles Dodgers vs #4 San Diego Padres
The Dodgers did not skip a beat against the Milwaukee Brewers and took care of them in only 2 games. I will say that I think Clayton Kershaw’s performance was blown out of proportion. The Brewers were ranked 26th in runs scored so I’m not too convinced that Kershaw’s old playoff demons won’t come back to haunt him once more.
The San Diego Padres looked rattled in their first game with their rotation being left in shambles due to injuries. But in games 2 and 3 their offense was able to come away with the win. Their bullpen proved to be as strong as advertised. Without Mike Clevinger and Dinelson Lamet the Dodgers are sure to be heavy favorites.
With reports coming out that Clevinger might be available for some innings should give Padres’ fans some hope. After all they did acquire him specifically to get them past the Dodgers in the playoffs. The Dodgers scored 7 runs in 2 games against a lackluster Brewers’ pitching staff. The Brewers were ranked 11th in ERA yet the Dodgers didn’t capitalize too much. The Los Angeles Dodgers should advance since they are a deeper team but I will choose the Padres… Kershaw will struggle in this series which will be the difference maker.
#2 Atlanta Braves vs #6 Miami Marlins
The Braves have yet to allow a run in postseason baseball this year. They struggled to score runs but their pitching bailed them out both times. The Braves have a deep roster so they should make a nice playoff run.
The Miami Marlins are riding high after they eliminated the Chicago Cubs in the Wild Card Series. Their roster is full of players that can come up big in the moment.
I am expecting the Braves to take care of business. There isn’t much that is pointing to the Marlins being able to take out the Braves.
Divisional Series Summary
With some great matchups in store for the Divisional Series, we are sure to get competitive games. Last time around I was 7 – 1 with my predictions so I hope my good fortune continues.