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Elephant Rumblings: 2020 MLB postseason bracket set; which teams wouldn’t have made it in a normal year?

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League Championship Series - New York Yankees v Houston Astros - Game Six
Finally, the Yankees and Astros catch a lucky break
Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Good morning, Athletics Nation!

We’ve reached the 2020 MLB postseason. The Oakland A’s are in, as the No. 2 seed in the American League, and they’ll host all three games of their Wild Card Round opening series against the Chicago White Sox. The first two are Tuesday and Wednesday at noon local time.

We’ll talk more about A’s vs. White Sox as the day goes on (already started here), but there are seven other matchups happening this week. Here’s how the whole bracket shakes out, with the home teams listed first:

American League

  • No. 1 Rays vs. No. 8 Blue Jays
  • No. 2 A’s vs. No. 7 White Sox
  • No. 3 Twins vs. No. 6 Astros
  • No. 4 Indians vs. No. 5 Yankees

National League

  • No. 1 Dodgers vs. No. 8 Brewers
  • No. 2 Braves vs. No. 7 Reds
  • No. 3 Cubs vs. No. 6 Marlins
  • No. 4 Padres vs. No. 5 Cardinals

I’m no more a fan of expanded playoffs than anyone else, but I also can’t deny that laying out a bracket revs something in my sports-fan engine. Just this once, it’s going to be fun to make up for the four months we lost in the short 60-game season. (Even if I think this is probably going to become the norm sooner than later, unfortunately.)

On that note, it’s interesting to consider which teams wouldn’t have made it in a normal year. In the AL, the three division winners would have been safe, and then it would have been the two clubs who tied for second in the Central facing off in the old Wild Card Game — the Indians and White Sox. That would have left out the Yankees, who finished two games back of that pair, as well as the Astros, who would have been six games off the wild card pace. The Jays also would have been out.

In the NL, the Padres would have hosted ... somebody. The 31-29 Marlins? The 31-29 Reds? Or the 30-28 Cardinals, who would have needed to make up their final two games? A couple tiebreakers may have been required, and two teams would have been left out, along with the sub-.500 Brewers. Let’s just say the Cardinals would have won out, because c’mon, we all know they would have found a way.

So, the expanded postseason brought us the following teams: Yankees, Astros, Blue Jays, Marlins, Reds, Brewers. We could have been without two villains in NYY and HOU, especially since the Astros finished with a losing record. But it could be fun to see TOR, MIA, CIN, and MIL in there — four smaller-profile clubs, three of whom haven’t been relevant in a while.

For better or worse, this October is going to be different. Hopefully one of those changes will be the A’s shedding their old habits and instead winning some series.

A’s Coverage

MLB News & Interest

Yesterday’s Game Highlights

Friday: Win! Canha get a walk-off!

Saturday #1: Loss! But good pitching and defense from Minor in first half of doubleheader.

Saturday #2: Loss! Swept in the doubleheader. But Grossman homered twice, for the first time in his career!

Sunday: Win! To finish out the regular season on a strong note. Frankie looked great.

Best of Twitter

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He emerges as ... Laser, the hero A’s fans need

It’s inevitable that somebody will eventually hire Owens away, and that’ll be a sad day for the A’s but a great day for his new team

The S in SVG stands for Savage, apparently

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Slusser also mentions that players can’t win ROTY in 2020 and 2021, and that normal cutoffs remain the standard (any one of 130 at-bats, 50 innings, or 45 days MLB service ... and this year Sept counts toward that service)

On behalf of Athletics Nation, I’d like to thank Eppler for all he’s done to keep the Angels out of the playoffs these last five seasons

I know he’s a Giants great, but Pence was undeniably a fun player to have in the sport and by all accounts is an A+ person. I can remember wanting the A’s to acquire him back in the 2011-12 range, and instead he forged a legacy on the other side of the Bay. (Also, this is a reminder that the Giants missed the 2020 playoffs on the last day of the season.)

495 feet!!!

Triple play!


Not baseball, but you’re about to see this clip in meme form a million times for the rest of your life because it’s perfect