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Marty’s musings: the playoff format is set

This year’s playoff structure was rolled-out last week by MLB. 

Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Welcome to ‘Marty’s Musings’, my weekly column of numbers summarizing the happenings in the baseball world. I am your guide for taking an analytic look at the news and notes throughout the game, and highlighting this week’s key pitching matchups.

This week MLB announced the structure of the 2020 playoffs, the Brewers tread lightly amidst staff and player COVID positives, and the Tigers’ Ron Gardenhire unexpectedly retires.

News & Notes

0 - Off days in playoff series this year, as MLB announced neutral-site spots in warm-weather cities. It changes how teams generally use relievers, and a back-end of a rotation will be of utmost importance later in series.

1 - Week left in the MLB regular season. Hard to believe that this week is the last for the regular season, but here we are in this COVID-shortened season. With so many teams making the playoffs, September pennant races largely become irrelevant seeding exercises.

373 - Games managed by Tigers’ skipper Ron Gardenhire, who unexpectedly announced his retirement last week. Though details have been kept private, we know that Gardy previously had cancer and is a diabetic. Whatever the reason, we wish him the best. The Tigers meanwhile are 22-30, and are likely to miss the playoffs in another lost rebuilding year.

10 - Consecutive wins put together by the Yankees before a loss on Sunday to the Red Sox. The Yanks finally got their team healthy, and have been raking of late. Naturally, if the season were to end today, they’d match up in the playoffs with the Twins.

2.4 - Billion dollar valuation for the New York Mets who are in the process of selling the team to hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen (again). The deal gives Cohen a 95 percent ownership stake in the team, and it makes him the fourth controlling owner of the Mets.

3 - People on the Milwaukee Brewers tested positive for COVID-19 last week at their alternate Appleton, Wisconsin site. President David Stearns said it’s unlikely this will cause the team to have to postpone games, but it’s just another week of positive tests for an MLB franchise.

Series of Note

Marlins v. Braves, September 21st through 24th

As strange as it is to say, but a strong showing in this series will propel Miami into first place in the NL East. The Marlins are three games behind the division-leading Braves.

Brewers v. Reds, September 25th through 27th

The Reds and Brewers are in a virtual-tie for the eighth and final playoff spot in the NL. This series will likely determine who gets in, and who has the upper-hand heading into separate weekend series.

Marlins v. Yankees, September 25th through 27th

The Yankees are done playing the Rays, and unfortunately for them, had to take on Tampa when they were at the height of injuries. New York gets Toronto and Miami this week to try to overtake the Rays, who have a 3 ½ game lead in the East.

Reds v. Twins, September 25th through 27th

The Twins have a shot to overtake the White Sox to take the AL Central, but they’ll need some help. The Reds meanwhile, are presently right on the bubble, with a .500 record, same as the Brewers and Giants, who are all battling for the last spot in the NL playoffs.

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Steven Martano is an Editor at Beyond the Box Score, a Contributing Prospect Writer for the Colorado Rockies at Purple Row, and a contributing writer for The Hardball Times. You can follow him on Twitter at @SMartano