The 2020 regular season has come to a close and playoff baseball kicks off tomorrow with the American League up first.
With the playoffs starting tomorrow, now is the perfect time for us here at District On Deck to give our predictions for each first-round matchup. We will begin with the American League first.
1) Tampa Bay Rays V. 8) Toronto Blue Jays
A year after winning 96 games and taking the Houston Astros to a game five in the American League Division Series, the Rays are back in the playoffs. This time they were able to overtake the Evil Empire (The New York Yankees) and were crowned American League East champs. Tampa is led by their starting rotation’s big three of Tyler Glasnow, Blake Snell, and Charlie Morton. Despite Snell and Glasnow taking a bit to get going, and Morton struggling mightily compared to 2019, the Rays rotation is still their bread and butter. Behind the rotation, is one of the best bullpens in baseball. With Tampa being so pitcher heavy, it takes a lot of pressure off of the offense. Tampa’s offense will be without their stud outfielder, Austin Meadows who was recently placed on the IL. It is unclear when he could return. While his absence hurts, Tampa’s offense still has Brandon Lowe leading the way. He led the team with 14 homers and has emerged as a legitimate power threat.
Toronto was able to take advantage of the extended playoffs and snagged the eighth and final spot. The young Jays are led by their core of Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, Vladamir Guerrero Jr., and Lourdes Gurriel Jr., while veteran Hyun Jin-Ryu leads the rotation. In the best of three series, Toronto has a legitimate chance of advancing but is facing an uphill battle.
Prediction: Tampa’s rotation will be too much for the Blue Jays to handle. Rays in 3