The 2020 MLB playoffs are not up to per week away, although it kind of feels just like the common season has slightly kicked off. The compressed 60-game time table is all the way down to the general weekend, and the MLB standings are tight heading to the end, with wild-card positioning, postseason seeding and the remainder of the playoff picture at stake.
As has been the case with such a lot this season, the playoffs could have a brand new glance, with an expanded format that incorporates 16 groups for the primary time in MLB historical past.
This would be the position to talk over with on a daily basis throughout the finish of the common season for up to date appears to be like on the attainable playoff box, recaps of the largest video games, research of an important storylines and previews of the crucial video games forward.
If the season ended lately …
Best-of-3 sequence, upper seed is house staff
No. 1 Rays* vs. No. 8 Blue Jays*
No. 2 Athletics* vs. No. 7 White Sox*
No. 3 Twins* vs. No. 6 Astros*
No. 4 Indians* vs. No. 5 Yankees*
No. 1 Dodgers* vs. No. 8 Giants
No. 2 Braves* vs. No. 7 Reds*
No. 3 Cubs* vs. No. 6 Marlins*
No. 4 Padres* vs. No. 5 Cardinals
*Clinched playoff spot
Magic numbers to clinch playoff spot
NL: Giants 2, Cardinals 2
Who can clinch Saturday?
• The Giants can clinch with a win AND losses by way of the Phillies AND Brewers.
• The Rays can clinch the No. 1 seed within the AL with a win over the Phillies.
• The Cubs can clinch the NL Central department with a win over the White Sox.
Who is already in?
The overwhelming preseason favorites clinched the NL’s top postseason seed and their 8th consecutive department identify.
What’s subsequent? The large prize for the Dodgers could be their first World Series identify since 1988. This will likely be L.A.’s 14th playoff look because the Dodgers maximum lately gained all of it.
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The White Sox clinched their first playoff berth since 2008. It would be the 10th postseason look within the historical past of the franchise, which dates to 1903.
What’s subsequent? Chicago is searching for the AL Central identify however nonetheless may just slip to the No. 7 seed.
The Rays clinched the 6th postseason look in franchise historical past and their 2nd in a row, in addition to their first AL East identify since 2010. Last yr, Tampa Bay beat Oakland within the AL wild-card recreation and misplaced to Houston within the department sequence.
What’s subsequent? Securing the No. 1 seed within the AL.
The A’s punched their 3rd directly postseason price ticket with a win over the Giants, then clinched the AL West 3 days later.
What’s subsequent? After securing their first AL West crown since 2013, the A’s are nonetheless within the combine for some of the AL’s most sensible two seeds.
A’s will have to-learn: Inside the A’s dominance and how they plan to make it last
The Twins clinched their 3rd postseason look prior to now 4 seasons. Last yr, they have been swept by way of the Yankees within the department sequence, extending their postseason shedding streak to 16 video games since their most up-to-date win in Game 1 of the 2004 AL Division Series.
What’s subsequent? The Twins are nonetheless within the combine for the AL Central identify and a most sensible-3 seed.
The Padres clinched their first postseason look since 2006 after they got here again to overcome the Mariners in additional innings 7-4 after keeping off a no-hit bid.
What’s subsequent? With a good grab at the No. Four seed within the NL, they may be able to focal point on on the point of make just right on their 2020 step forward.
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Although they took a beating on Sunday in Boston, the Yankees clinched a playoff spot when the Padres beat the Mariners.
What’s subsequent? The large query for the Yankees is that if they may be able to clutch the AL’s No. Four seed to start out the postseason of their ballpark.
Yankees will have to-learn: Yankees ace Gerrit Cole has a HR problem
Even sooner than they completed their recreation in opposition to the Marlins on Tuesday, the Braves clinched their third straight NL East title when the Phillies have been swept of their doubleheader in opposition to the Nationals. In either one of the former two seasons, the Braves did not advance past the department sequence.
What’s subsequent? Lining up their shallow rotation for subsequent week’s playoff assignments and holding everybody wholesome look like the rapid objectives for Atlanta.
Braves will have to-learn: Why a Braves-White Sox World Series would be extra special
Powered by way of Jose Ramirez’s three-run home run within the backside of the 10th inning in opposition to the White Sox, Cleveland clinched its go back to the postseason after lacking out on October in 2019, which snapped a streak of 3 consecutive playoff appearances.
What’s subsequent? Cleveland remains to be seeking first or 2nd position within the AL Central, so the seeding may be very a lot up within the air.
The Cubs snapped a one-season hiatus from the postseason and were given rookie supervisor David Ross’ team to October in his first yr within the dugout.
What’s subsequent? Beyond clinching the NL Central identify, getting Jose Quintana and Kris Bryant wholesome and able for the postseason are the Cubs’ two largest priorities within the time ultimate.
Cubs will have to-learn: Inside Yu Darvish’s return to elite status as the Cubs’ ace
What’s subsequent? The Blue Jays are prone to finally end up because the No. Eight seed, so they are going to have the ability to stay Ryu covered up for his or her playoff opener Tuesday.
The Marlins did not simply clinch their first season of .500 or higher since 2009. They also earned their first appearance in the postseason since they gained the 2003 World Series by way of beating the similar staff Friday that they beat then: the Yankees, the one staff that Miami supervisor Don Mattingly performed for in his occupation.
What’s subsequent? The Fish are liable to drawing the NL’s 5th seed, which might pit them in opposition to the Padres — no longer a matchup anyone would welcome. Then once more, the Marlins were not meant to get this a long way, so they are going to benefit from the commute anywhere they are headed.
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The Reds clinched thru a mixture of circumstance and scheduling on Friday, beating the Twins for his or her 30th win whilst the Brewers and Phillies took their 30th losses, securing Cincinnati’s spot thru victory and tiebreaker benefits.
What’s subsequent? There’s no rule in opposition to incomes any other win or two this weekend to verify the tiebreakers do not topic.
Despite struggling 5-4 walk-off loss to the Rangers, the Astros sponsored into the postseason Friday evening whilst falling to .500 when the Dodgers — irony alert — clobbered the Angels to safe Houston’s spot at the AL postseason slate.
What’s subsequent? Avoiding the ignominy of being the primary under-.500 staff to succeed in the postseason by way of looking to win yet one more recreation this weekend.
Astros will have to-learn: Why Verlander’s injury marks beginning of the end of Astros’ sad legacy
About final evening …
Jesus Aguilar’s 10th inning sacrifice fly places the Marlins up 4-3 and sends them to the playoffs for the primary time since 2003.
The Marlins have achieved it once more, attaining the postseason — must baseball be nervous? This marks the 3rd time in franchise historical past that Miami has reached the playoffs, which they earned by way of beating the Yankees 4-3 in the 10th inning. Both occasions they were given there sooner than, they gained the World Series, in 1997 and 2003. That’s proper, the Fish have by no means misplaced a postseason sequence. The final time they gained a postseason recreation, it used to be additionally in Yankee Stadium — Game 6 of the 2003 World Series.
Beyond serving to take away any other bit of poser so far as the nonetheless-muddled NL playoff picture, why is that important? Because the Marlins misplaced 105 video games final yr, bouncing again from the worst report within the National League final yr and — quick season or no longer — shrugging off their early-season issues of COVID-19 to earn a place at the postseason slate. You can keep in mind the various neglected alternatives this staff has needed to flip the nook — trashing the roster in 1998, the meltdown on Ozzie Guillen’s watch, the tragedy of Jose Fernandez’s dying — and fanatics who’ve caught round throughout the franchise’s atypical historical past can take some convenience from this.
In phrases of more moderen relevance, the Marlins clinched the staff’s first report of .500 or higher in a season since 2009, whilst additionally giving supervisor Don Mattingly his first postseason look since his Dodgers within the Division Series to the 2015 Mets. In addition to turning into the Marlins’ 3rd playoff apepearance, this will likely be simply the 7th season within the membership’s 28-season lifestyles the place it finishes .500 or higher.
All of which is a laugh from the point of view of ancient trivialities, however how bad will the Fish be to their NL opponents within the postseason? Much will likely be rely on their younger beginning pitchers, Sixto Sanchez, Pablo Lopez and Sandy Alcantara particularly. Rebuilding their lineup with reasonably priced and to be had veterans like Jesus Aguilar, Corey Dickerson and Matthew Joyce, plus including Starling Marte on the cut-off date, gave them offensive intensity past Brian Anderson and Garrett Cooper to present them a puncher’s likelihood in video games their starters stay in achieve, and a pen stocked with retreads like Brandon Kintzler, Brad Boxberger and Nick Vincent has been just right sufficient to nail down leads.
It’s a tricky assortment to wager on in opposition to a robust opponent in an extended sequence, however as an explanation of being just right sufficient to get a minimum of this a long way, Fish fanatics can not whinge. Despite 18 gamers checking out sure for coronavirus early within the season and the checking out of the group’s intensity that introduced on, credit score the Fish for striking difficult in a atypical season and profiting from their circumstance.
Also of observe: The Rays clinched the highest seed within the American League with their 6-4 victory over the Phillies, who suffered their 30th loss whilst seeing their playoff hopes dwindle. … The Reds are again within the postseason as neatly with their 30th win of the season, thank you partly to their 7-2 victory over the Twins, but additionally because of the Brewers’ break up in their doubleheader and the Phillies’ loss. Though Cincinnati may just nonetheless finally end up tied with each Milwaukee and Philadelphia, they hang tiebreaker benefits over each, securing their first playoff look since shedding the 2013 NL Wild Card Game, which introduced the Dusty Baker six-yr generation within the Reds’ dugout to an finish. … Speaking of Dusty, the Astros blew their likelihood at clinching the general AL playoff spot Friday evening by way of shedding to the Rangers 5-4 in the 10th inning, however complicated anyway when the Dodgers clobbered the Angels 9-5 to get rid of them.
The scramble for the general open slots within the NL playoff box noticed some further drama when the Brewers simplest accomplished a break up in opposition to the Cardinals, getting mauled within the nightcap with a 9-1 loss after winning the opener 3-0. … The Giants’ split of their doubleheader with the Padres saved postseason ambitions alive for any other day in Milwaukee, Philadelphia and New York. The large tale there used to be the Pads witnessing starter Dinelson Lamet move down with an harm simply hours after divulging the scoop that presumptive Game 1 starter Mike Clevinger wanted a cortisone shot in his injured elbow.
The AL Central race additionally were given a little extra difficult, because the Twins, White Sox and Indians are all inside of a recreation of each other with two to play. That mixture of occasions added to New York’s loss to Miami additionally value the Yankees their shot at a No. Four seed within the AL playoff slate.
Pennant race debate: Which one participant are you maximum excited to peer this postseason?
David Schoenfield: Shane Bieber. The Indians have not gained the World Series since 1948, and they’re rarely the favorites to win the American League, however Bieber is the pitcher in all probability to have a Madison Bumgarner-in-2014 form of run and raise an differently mediocre staff to the identify.
Joon Lee: Tim Anderson no longer simplest reveals himself in the course of a chase with DJ LeMahieu for his 2nd directly batting identify, but additionally for the American League MVP with Cleveland Indians hurler Shane Bieber and teammate Jose Abreu amid any other occupation season. Anderson is the center and soul of the rebel White Sox, and the 27-year-previous shortstop will likely be making the primary playoff look of his occupation. When bearing in mind the ones instances, his penchant for bringing pleasure and aptitude to the sphere and his dynamic bat on the most sensible of the lineup at the South Side, Anderson figures to make a large affect with the eyes of baseball fanatics national squarely centered at the younger and thrilling White Sox squad.
Sam Miller: Yu Darvish hasn’t seemed within the postseason since his disastrous pair of begins within the 2017 World Series, and within the resulting duration he has modified groups, gotten harm, been a bust, added but any other pitch and another time grow to be — unusually, however no longer too unusually — some of the international’s 5 very best beginning pitchers. He hasn’t ever had the keep an eye on over his arsenal that he has now, and no person is extra of a danger to throw a no-hitter in any given get started. He does not want to redeem himself for the 2017 World Series — his occupation is so a lot more than the ones two begins — however it will be truly pleasurable to look at him play the ace this October.
Bradford Doolittle: In each 1997 (Livan Hernandez) and 2003 (Josh Beckett), the Marlins’ championship runs have been fueled by way of a scorching, emergent pitcher. While I’m no longer predicting Miami will move on a identify romp if it will get into the playoffs, Sixto Sanchez may well be that roughly emergent pitcher for them this October. Both his conventional effects and his Statcast metrics are elite, and he may well be going up in opposition to a membership that hasn’t ever observed him sooner than within the opener of a very best-of-3 sequence. And that opponent may just finally end up being the Dodgers.
Alden Gonzalez: Sixto Sanchez — as a result of I do not believe anyone has a solution for him nowadays.
Key video games forward
Brewers-Cardinals, Saturday (7:07 p.m. ET): Whatever small hopes the Brewers have left, they can not come up with the money for to lose both in their final two video games in St. Louis this weekend.
Reds-Twins, Saturday (7:10 p.m. ET): The Reds have clinched, however the Twins abruptly have a one-recreation lead within the AL Central with two to play. Can they win the department crown, and most likely additionally steer clear of a primary-spherical matchup in opposition to the Yankees?
Padres-Giants, Saturday (9:15 p.m. ET on ESPN+): The Padres’ playoff spot is safe, however the Giants are nonetheless preventing for his or her October price ticket.