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Morning Mound Visit: ALDS round is set

Now the real playoffs begin.

Wild Card Round - Chicago White Sox v Oakland Athletics - Game Three Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Before the shutdown threw the season into chaos, a prediction that the Yankees, Rays, A’s, and Astros would be four of the five AL teams to play a game in October would have shocked no one. These were the four best teams in a bad league before the season was suspended, and over a regular sample they would naturally come out on top. But the shortened season and expanded playoffs threw everything into flux, so in the division round we’re instead getting the Yankees, Rays, A’s, and Astros. Huh.

The ALDS doesn’t start until Monday, so each team is going to have an opportunity to rest its pitchers. While that’s horrible scheduling for the viewers—one playoff game (if necessary) all weekend!?—it does mean that when these teams finally play, they will be at full, even strength. So that means we are probably getting Gerrit Cole vs. Blake Snell and Zack Greinke vs. Jesús Luzardo in Game 1.

The National League is still waiting on the results of the Padres and Cardinals and the Marlins and Cubs. The winners of those series will face the Dodgers and Braves respectively.

Alex Hall | Athletics Nation: The A’s won their first postseason series since 2006 and though it had to come at the expense of the immensely fun White Sox, it’s worth celebrating.

Russell Carleton | Baseball Prospectus $: It’s common knowledge that stellar starting pitching can carry a team through the playoffs (see: 2019 Washington Nationals), but it’s possible that we’re undervaluing aces.

Dan Szymborski | FanGraphs: The Cincinnati Reds were eliminated from the postseason on Thursday before the team could score one measly run. A historically frustrating end is sure to linger through the long winter.