American League Divisional Series Preview

It finally feels like real October Baseball, I was not a huge fan of the extended post-season format but the Dodgers were able to advance so all is good in the world as of today. The final eight teams remain in what will certainly be remembered as the most crazy, cautious and unpredictable season in the history of Major League Baseball. I am not a big “research” guy so I am going to say that this is the first time a post-season has been played 100% at neutral sites?

News has dropped that the NLCS and the World Series which is being played at the home of the Texas Rangers in Arlington will allow 11,500 fans at each game for the duration of the NLCS and Fall Classic. I think this makes a tremendous impact, baseball players are creatures of habit and for the last six months they have not seen a fan in the stands, other than the cardboard cutout varieties. This will either propel a team or derail their flow, it will be interesting to see how that plays out, but for now, the focus is on the division series.

The most fascinating thing about these four series is that each series will be played between divisional rivals, there will be no shortage of bad blood flowing in each of these series, it’s must see sports. Let’s breakdown these series one by one and I will give you the winners so if you want to sprinkle some shells on these series to make some November mortgage payments, you’re welcome in advance.

New York Yankees vs Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays have been the best team in the American League this entire season, from start to finish they have looked the most complete and most sound out of any team in that league. The fact of the matter is, regardless of the makeup of the Yankees, they still have the New York Yankee mystique and aura and it just doesn’t seem possible that the Tampa Bay Rays will lose a playoff series to the Bronx Bombers, but this is 2020 and I think we now know that anything is possible.

The Yankees do not have any pitching whatsoever outside of Gerrit Cole who is a stud but is extra special during the post-season. The Rays have depth in the rotation and coming out of the pen. The Yankees have a massive offense that keeps coming at you and the Rays are the definition of “small-ball” in today’s version of baseball. They are evidently different looking ball-clubs in every way from payroll all the way down to the accommodations of their stadiums, the personnel is an indication of that.

I think that the age old formula still works in the playoffs, good pitching defeats good offense nine times out of ten. The Yankees just seem to be relying on the offense to smash them to a World Championship and I have rarely seen that be an effective formula.
Prediction: Rays in 5

Houston Astros vs Oakland A’s
This series is probably my favorite of the slate. These two teams hate each other and one of the biggest morons in the Major League’s, Carlos Correa has opened his big mouth and the A’s have responded by saying it is time to show the world who the best team in the AL West is and the cheating Astros have had their day in the sun.

I despise the Houston Astros, they ripped that ring right off my finger in 2017. I will say, I bet them against the Twins and I feel like that was easy money. By no means do I think the Astros suck or are a bad ball club.However, I do think that dominant team from the 2017 season is a thing of the past, if they win this series yes I will be impressed BUT beating the Twins and A’s two of the most unsuccessful teams in the post-season the last twenty years would not be a herculean effort.

The Astros also have one of the greatest choke artists of all time, Dusty Baker, now managing their team in the playoffs, that is always a scary thought if you are a fan of a Dusty led team. The first game of this series is key for whoever wants to win this series, without Justin Verlander the Astros are behind the eight ball. I think the Athletics figure it out in game one and they win this series.
Prediction: Athletics in 4