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Welcome back to another exciting edition of Dodgers Dugout! I’m Houston Mitchell, and it’s playoff time in the MLB. The 2020 postseason is quite unique this year, with a total of 16 teams qualifying and being seeded from 1 to 8 in both the American League (AL) and National League (NL). In this article, we’ll break down the different rounds of the playoffs and why the Dodgers are favored to win it all.
The Playoff Format
Let’s start by understanding the structure of the MLB postseason. The playoffs consist of several rounds, each with its own set of games. Here’s a breakdown of the rounds:
Wild-Card Round (Best of Three)
LDS (Best of Five)
LCS (Best of Seven)
World Series (Best of Seven)
The wild-card matchups for each league are as follows:
- No. 1 Dodgers (43-17) vs. No. 8 Milwaukee Brewers (29-31)
- No. 2 Atlanta Braves (35-25) vs. No. 7 Cincinnati Reds (31-29)
- No. 3 Chicago Cubs (34-26) vs. No. 6 Miami Marlins (31-29)
- No. 4 San Diego Padres (37-23) vs. No. 5 St. Louis Cardinals (30-28)
- No. 1 Tampa Bay Rays (40-20) vs. No. 8 Toronto Blue Jays (32-28)
- No. 2 Oakland A’s (36-24) vs. No. 7 Chicago White Sox (35-25)
- No. 3 Minnesota Twins (36-24) vs. No. 6 Houston Astros (29-31)
- No. 4 Cleveland Indians (35-25) vs. No. 5 New York Yankees (33-27)
It’s worth noting that the best-of-three format in the wild-card round can produce unexpected results. Even the worst team in baseball, like the Pittsburgh Pirates, could defeat any team in a short series. The NBA, for instance, abandoned the best-of-three format after the 1983 playoffs due to frequent upsets. Nevertheless, let’s focus on the Dodgers and their prospects for success.
Why the Dodgers are Favored to Win
Now, before you accuse me of being a homer, let me explain why I believe the Dodgers will clinch the championship this year. In all my years of covering the playoffs, I have never made this prediction before the postseason started. However, I have a strong feeling that the addition of Mookie Betts to the Dodgers’ roster this season will be the game-changer they need.
Of course, the Dodgers are not without their flaws. Max Muncy has struggled with his hitting, and Cody Bellinger had a slow start but has picked up momentum in his last 13 games. Additionally, the second base position could be a potential issue, and the performance of closer Kenley Jansen raises concerns among fans. It’s also important to note that the Dodgers’ offensive success during the regular season was partially due to playing weaker teams within the NL West and AL West divisions.
However, when we compare the Dodgers to the other teams in the playoffs, it becomes evident that they have fewer holes in their roster. Fans tend to focus on their own team’s weaknesses while overlooking the flaws of their opponents. Yet, after assessing all the potential matchups, it appears that the Dodgers are either significantly or slightly better than the other teams this season.
Evaluating the Wild-Card Opponent: Milwaukee Brewers
Let’s take a closer look at the Dodgers’ wild-card opponent, the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers have their fair share of weaknesses, particularly in their offense. Christian Yelich, who finished second in last season’s MVP voting, had a disappointing year, and the team’s offensive performance relies heavily on former Dodger Jedd Gyorko and Daniel Vogelbach, who had impressive performances but are not consistent throughout the lineup.
On the pitching side, the Brewers have had some standout performances from Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes, who unfortunately suffered an injury and will miss the postseason. Apart from those two, the Brewers’ pitching rotation is relatively average.
While their closer Josh Hader had a subpar season by his standards, their reliever Devin Williams has been exceptional, boasting an impressive 0.33 ERA.
In summary, the Dodgers would benefit from striking early against the Brewers, considering the weaknesses in their lineup and their reliance on a strong bullpen.
Playoff Roster and Dave Roberts
As for the playoff roster, the official announcement is yet to come. However, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts mentioned the possibility of including Terrance Gore as a pinch-runner—a move that could prove valuable in crucial moments.
Now, let’s address the criticism directed at Roberts. Some Dodgers fans believe that the team will never win as long as he remains the manager. However, Roberts dismisses these claims, emphasizing that while there may be a vocal minority expressing discontent, the majority of fans support the team through thick and thin. As a manager, Roberts focuses on doing what he believes is best for the Dodgers, and he values the respect and trust of his players and the organization.
Remembering Jay Johnstone
Before concluding this edition of Dodgers Dugout, I want to take a moment to honor former Dodger Jay Johnstone, who sadly passed away at the age of 74 due to complications from COVID-19. Johnstone was not only known for his pranks but also for his impressive hitting skills and pinch-hitting prowess. He played a significant role in the team’s success, including hitting a crucial two-run home run during Game 4 of the 1981 World Series.
Share Your First Dodgers Memory
Don’t forget to share your first Dodgers memory with us! We’ve received thousands of responses, and although we may not get to yours immediately, we assure you that we’ll eventually include it in an upcoming Dodgers Dugout edition. Whether it’s a small childhood memory or a significant event that shaped your love for the Dodgers, we’d love to hear from you. Please send your memories to [email protected].
There you have it, Dodgers fans! The playoffs are off to an exciting start, and the team is well-positioned for success. The road to the championship won’t be easy, but with the addition of Mookie Betts and the overall strength of their roster, the Dodgers have a strong chance of winning it all this year. Stay tuned for more updates and analysis in future editions of Dodgers Dugout. Go Dodgers!
- Game 1: Wednesday, Milwaukee (Brent Suter) at Dodgers (Walker Buehler), 7 p.m., ESPN, AM 570
- Game 2: Thursday, Milwaukee (Brandon Woodruff) at Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw), TBD, ESPN or TBS, AM 570
- Game 3 (if necessary): Friday, Milwaukee (TBD) at Dodgers (TBD), TBD, ESPN or TBS, AM 570