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Marty’s musings: the expanded MLB playoffs are upon us

After a whirlwind of a regular season, MLB readies itself for the playoffs. 

New York Yankees v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/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 we preview the 16-team postseason extravaganza set to begin this week. We look at the very much unsuccessful tenure of the Angels recently fired General Manager, and discuss the retirement of two fun players.

News & Notes

16 - Teams are preparing themselves for the playoffs, including one of the unlikeliest of teams, the Miami Marlins. The best of three first round series begins this week.

8 - guaranteed games for Wednesday and Thursday this week. One plus of letting practically every team in the postseason is at least a few days packed with games.

2 - players who announced their retirements last week, Alex Gordon and Hunter Pence. Gordon is one of those rare franchise players who lasted his entire 14-year career in one city and he’s seventh all-time in bWAR for the Kansas City Royals. Hunter Pence on the other hand amassed nearly the same amount of total bWAR value, but did so for the Astros, Phillies, Giants, and Rangers.

5 - Year tenure for Angels’ GM Billy Eppler who was fired over the weekend. Despite doling out several of the league’s largest long-term deals, and having a payroll in the middle-of-the-pack, Los Angeles finished under .500 every single season, and landed in fourth place four of the five years.

1 - Year in the seat as Boston Skipper for Ron Roenicke, who will not be coming back to Boston next season. This year’s Red Sox team rostered one of the worst pitching staffs in the franchise’s history, it’s hard to blame Roenicke for the awfulness considering the triple-A roster he managed.

Playoffs Round One

As we know, in a three-game series anything can happen. There’s barely even a favorite in these types of series. For the first time ever, MLB will have three-game series for every playoff team.

May the odds be ever in your favor!

Tuesday, September 29th through Friday October 2nd

American League

Astros v. Twins

The Astros underachieved all season, finishing in second place in the American League West. The Twins eeked out a pennant besting the Indians and White Sox. Minnesota is probably just glad they get to avoid a perennial first round playoff loss to the Yankees.

White Sox v. Athletics

The White Sox are lined up well, with Lucas Giolito and Dallas Keuchel slated to start the first two games for Chicago.

Blue Jays v. Rays

An unlikely AL East matchup in the first round, the Blue Jays core of youngsters get their first taste of the postseason for the first time. Toronto last made the playoffs in 2016, when they lost to the Indians in the ALCS. The Rays last in a deciding game five of the LDS last season.

Yankees v. Indians

In what is probably THE premier pitching matchup this week, Gerrit Cole takes on Shane Bieber in game one of the New York - Cleveland series. With the Yankees finally healthy, Cleveland is in for a tough one.

National League

Reds v. Braves

Trevor Bauer tries to put his money where his mouth is, in his first playoff game since a lackluster 2018 postseason with the Indians.

Marlins v. Cubs

The Marlins have never lost a playoff series, since every playoffs they’ve made they won the World Series.

Cardinals v. Padres

The Padres may be the most fun team in baseball, and they take on the Cardinals who have had a brutal schedule to make up for COVID postponements earlier in the season.

Brewers v. Dodgers

The Dodgers remain the odds-on favorites to win the World Series, but they’ll have to get through several rounds of short-series to do so. With Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw starting games one and two, you’ve gotta like their chances.

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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