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:
- 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
- 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.
- AN: A’s finish with No. 2 seed, will face Chicago White Sox in first round of playoffs
- Hickey: Kotsay Sees 2020 Athletics Having Same Kind of Brotherhood as the 2006 Club
- Gallegos: A’s have balanced formula for playoff run
- Gallegos: Hottest pitcher in MLB? Could be Bassitt
- AN: Tarp Catch: Jake Lamb is now officially an Oakland A’s third baseman
- AN: Comparing Sean Murphy to Johnny Bench might not be ridiculous at all
- News: A’s activate Chad Pinder from injured list
- Friday: Game #57: Walk-off magic returns, A’s win 3-1 in 10th inning
- Saturday #1: Game #58: A’s lose in extras for first time this year, 5-1 to Mariners
- Saturday #2: Game #59: A’s swamped by Mariners in 12-3 loss, doubleheader sweep
- Sunday: Game #60: A’s end season on strong note in 6-2 win over Mariners
MLB News & Interest
- Stephen: Angels fire general manager Billy Eppler
- Polishuk (roundup): Red Sox Won’t Retain Ron Roenicke For 2021 Season
- Bell: Bieber wins MLB pitching Triple Crown
- Feinsand: These 13 itching for redemption ... and glory
- Justice: Ranking every playoff team’s lineup, pitching
- Drellich: Q&A: Outgoing MiLB president Pat O’Conner on the state and future of the minors ($$$)
- Today in Baseball History
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.
Minor's defense is major pic.twitter.com/Ed2h2V4Mpl— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) September 26, 2020
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
Glove flip to barehand catch GUYS YOU’RE DOING IT BACKWARD
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
A's exec Billy Owens is getting some buzz as a potential GM candidate for the Mets if Steve Cohen brings in somebody new. Billy was a great guest on Executive Access this season - a highly recommended listen. https://t.co/Qq6B9u4lDT— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) September 25, 2020
The S in SVG stands for Savage, apparently
Baseball is a hard game. Much harder when you aren’t cheating. https://t.co/K4cB0YiKYt— Stan Van Gundy (@realStanVG) September 28, 2020
It’s almost as if huge contracts for DHs might not be a good idea
“I’ve sucked.” — J.D. Martinez. Said he’s frustrated.— Julian McWilliams (@byJulianMack) September 25, 2020
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)
I mentioned the other day that MLB was adjusting the rookie qualifications based on the 60-game season. Here's the upshot, I'm told: Sept. roster days WILL count, and any player with more than 45 days on the active roster will not be eligible for rookie status next year.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) September 27, 2020
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
As expected, general manager Billy Eppler will not return to the Los Angeles Angels, source tells ESPN. The question now for the Angels: Will Dave Dombrowski come to Anaheim to try to do what he did in Miami, Detroit and Boston? @Ken_Rosenthal first on the move with Eppler.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) September 27, 2020
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.)
Nothing can really prepare you for this part of your career when you have to say: I am retiring from baseball.— Hunter Pence (@hunterpence) September 26, 2020
Forever thankful and Gr8ful. pic.twitter.com/XoYTsLkOlu
It doesn't get much easier than this 5-4-3 triple play. pic.twitter.com/Qpjon1aAO1— MLB (@MLB) September 27, 2020
not the kind of strike we’re used to seeing from a bullpen pic.twitter.com/jvheXD5VaJ— Cut4 (@Cut4) September 27, 2020
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