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Oakland A’s finish with No. 2 seed, will face Chicago White Sox in first round of playoffs

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A’s vs. White Sox in the Wild Card Round

Oakland Athletics v Chicago White Sox Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

The 2020 MLB regular season is over, and the American League playoff bracket is set. It’s bigger than ever, with eight teams competing for a spot in the World Series against the NL champion, but the Oakland A’s have one of the top positions as the division winners of the AL West.

The A’s finish as the No. 2 seed in the AL, which lines them up to play the No. 7 seed Chicago White Sox, who finished third place in the Central and earned the first wild card spot. The two teams will meet up in the best-of-three Wild Card Round beginning Tuesday, with all three games taking place at the Coliseum as Oakland home games. Here’s the full AL field:

  1. Rays (AL East winner)
  2. A’s (AL West winner)
  3. Twins (AL Central winner)
  4. Indians (2nd in Central)
  5. Yankees (2nd in East)
  6. Astros (2nd in West)
  7. White Sox (3rd in Central)
  8. Blue Jays (3rd in East)

This will be the first time the A’s and White Sox have ever faced in the postseason, dating back more than a century through their entire franchise histories. They also did not play each other in the abbreviated 2020 regular season, since schedules were restricted to only regional opponents.

The A’s final record is 36-24, one win better than the 35-25 White Sox. While Oakland struggled down the stretch, losing five of their final eight games, Chicago was even worse, dropping seven of eight including a streak of six in a row that featured two walk-off defeats. Still, both clubs are packed with talent and proved themselves over the course of two months this summer.

Whereas the A’s are going to the postseason for their third consecutive year, this was a breakout season for a young White Sox roster. Chicago endured seven losing seasons in a row entering 2020, averaging 92 losses during that span, but they’ve built a strong core that has begun to blossom. Five members of their starting lineup are age 26 or younger, as are four pitchers in their rotation, and that group includes four former consensus Top 5 national prospects, four more former Top 50 names, and another former Top 100.

(Those prospect lists, respectively: Giolito, Jimenez, Moncada, Robert; then Cease, Lopez, Madrigal, Mazara; and then Dunning)

Those rising stars are surrounded by a few more established names, including sluggers Jose Abreu and Edwin Encarnacion, catcher Yasmani Grandal, and starter Dallas Keuchel, all of them multi-time All-Stars, plus one-time All-Star closer Alex Colome.

If the A’s win their series against the White Sox, they would go on to play the winner of the Twins vs. Astros in a five-game ALDS at a neutral site in Sourthern California (Dodger Stadium). Oakland would have home-field advantage, at least in terms of batting last in three of the five games.

In the meantime, the A’s first two games against the Sox begin at noon local time on Tuesday and Wednesday, and they’ll both be televised on ESPN. See below for the full bracket of all 16 teams in the playoffs, and click here to see the full postseason schedule.

Image credit: MLB.com

Note: No Giants, no Angels. Nice.