MLB

Tuesday’s Postseason Schedule

Written by Jameus Mooney

The MLB Postseason is upon us as the first year of expanded playoff play begins tomorrow.

First, it’s the AL Wildcard Round on Tuesday before all 16 teams play on Wednesday. Eight teams made the American League bracket. Who are they? When do their games start? Where are their games?

The MLB is doing a bubble this postseason, but only for the Division Series, Championship series and World Series. The first series will be at the home park of the higher seed.

Astros at Twins

Pitching matchup: Zack Greinke vs Kenta Maeda.

The first game begins at 2 PM EST, and it will be the first game in a best of three between the first place Central team Minnesota Twins and second place West team Houston Astros. The Twins went 36-24 this season, while they Astros were only 29-31.

This is not the same Astros team we saw last year. The only remaining pitcher of the three aces from the 2019 postseason is Zack Greinke, as Gerrit Cole is now in the Bronx and Justin Verlander has gone under the knife for Tommy John Surgery. It is the first season after the big trash can scandal and their lineup has been nothing short of trash. Every player in their offense is hitting far below their career averages, and those are just the one’s playing. The only exception is Michael Brantley, who was on the Indians for a majority of the Astros time cheating.

As for the Twins, they look to finally win a postseason series for the first time in a decade and a half. Last year, pitching was their Achilles Heel. This year, Kenta Maeda looks to step up for the Bomba Squad. Maeda, who’s pitched in two World Series with the LA Dodgers, went 6-1 in his first year in the Twins cities with a 2.70 ERA, 80 Ks and a .750 WHIP. He goes up against former AL Cy Young, former teammate and eventual Hall of Famer Zack Greinke.

It was a down year for Greinke standards, as he went 3-3 with a 4.03 ERA, but his lifetime 3.37 ERA over 17 seasons is stellar. He is one of MLBs most dominant pitchers of the generation, with 2689 Ks (only 676 walks), a 208-126 record in 500 games and 125 lifetime ERA+. He has six All-Star selections and a Cy Young, but should have more. He’s pitched in the postseason for the Brewers, Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Astros.

White Sox at Athletics

Pitching matchup: Lucas Giolito vs TBD.

This past offseason, the White Sox made a number of splashy signings that included Edwin Encarnacion, Yasmani Grandal and Dallas Keuchel. Edwin Encarnacion has more homeruns over the last ten years than any player except Nelson Cruz (who has a PED suspension over that time). He has played big postseason games for the Blue Jays, Indians and Yankees, which include the walkoff winner for the AL Wildcard game against Baltimore a few years back. Yasmani Grandal has played in multiple World Series as a Dodger. Dallas Keuchel, former AL Cy Young, won a World Series with the Houston Astros, pitched a stellar 2015 AL Wildcard game and pitched with the Braves in last years’ playoffs. What was a rebuild process was not only expedited, but also brought in players with the expectation to win. The payoff? A record of 35-25.

Their pitching rotation is aced by Lucas Giolito, who threw his first career no hitter this season. Acquired in the Adam Eaton trade with the Nationals, Giolito has been stellar the last two seasons for the Southsiders. An All-Star who finished sixth in 2019 Cy Young voting, Giolito doubled down on his 2019 season in 2020 when he had a 3.48 ERA in 12 starts with 97 punch out. Who he will face in Oakland? That’s undecided.

The A’s went 36-24, but haven’t played as much competition and faltered down the stretch after losing third base superstar Matt Chapman. The lineup is still strong, however, as it features Khris Davis (who will likely hit .247 in the postseason), Matt Olson and Ramon Laureano. Will their postseason struggles continue, after back to back wildcard game losses to the Yankees and Rays? The game starts at 3 PM EST.

Blue Jays at Rays

Pitching matchup: TBD vs Blake Snell.

Despite mounting injuries, the Rays ended the season with 40 wins. That was the most in the American League. Even heading into the postseason, this team isn’t healthy. However, it’s worth noting that both third baseman Yandy Diaz and 1st baseman Ji-Man Choi have been working out and feeling good. The last time Yandy got activated from an IL stint heading into the postseason? He hit two homeruns in the AL Wild Card game at the O.Co Coliseum.

Blake Snell has been outstanding this year, after a down 2019. The former American League Cy Young award winner will make his first 2020 playoff Bump Day as he takes on the Toronto Blue Jays. The key for the Rays this postseason, though, will be their bullpen arms, led by the man pictured Nick Anderson. Opponents have only gone 5 for 55 off of Anderson in 2020.

The Blue Jays still haven’t announced their game one starter, but it’ll likely be Hyun Jin Ryu, who they signed this past offseason. Their lineup is a strong mix of second generation talent, led by Cavan Biggio (son of MLB Hall of Famer Craig Biggio), prodigy Bo Bichette (son of four time MLB All-Star Dante Bichette) and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (son of MLB Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero). Other key pieces including Teoscar Hernandez and Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

This is probably the most fascinating matchup because the teams went 6-4 against each other this year, with the Rays winning six. The Blue Jays, in the season series overall, outscored Tampa. This two teams are very evenly matched, and don’t be surprised if the eight seed upsets the one seed out of the gate. The game starts at 5 PM EST.

Yankees at Indians

Probable pitching matchup: Gerrit Cole vs Shane Bieber.

This is the best pitching matchup. Gerrit Cole is in the first year of his massive deal with the New York Yankees, and he makes his first postseason start as a Bronx Bomber. Only, none of the three game set will be in the Bronx; rather Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio.

His opponent? Shane Bieber. Just a year after Gerrit Cole was considered the best pitcher in the American League, he struggled with the longball in the confines of the short porch. Shane Bieber? Won the American League Triple Crown. He is the first pitcher to win a Triple Crown since Justin Verlander’s 2011 MVP season. He went 8-1, with a 1.63 ERA and 122 Ks in only his third major league season. This lineup is a tough cookie for him to bite into, probably tougher to navigate than any Central division lineup he’s faced.

DJ LeMahieu became the first player to win the Batting Championship in both leagues. Luke Voit led baseball in homeruns. Giancarlo Stanton is a former NL MVP. Aaron Judge is Aaron Judge.

Yet, Cole might have a worse for wear, as he faces a Jose Ramirez led Indians club, and Jose Ramirez may win the AL MVP. The potent lineup features Francisco Lindor, Carlos Santana and Roberto Perez. The game begins at 7 PM EST.

Who will go onto the ALDS? Short wild card series start tomorrow.

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About the author

Jameus Mooney