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.
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.