2020 MLB Playoffs picks: Astros vs. A’s, Yankees vs. Rays
The Divisional Round of the 2020 MLB Playoffs get underway on Monday afternoon! First, the Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics square off at Dodger Stadium. Then the New York Yankees will face the Tampa Bay Rays at Petco Park. Here are our best bets for each tilt.
Houston Astros vs. Oakland Athletics, 4:07 p.m. ET, TBS
Mon, October 5 2020, 8:07 PM
OAK Athletics[C. Bassitt]
HOU Astros[L. McCullers]
The A’s should strike first in their ALDS with the Astros at Dodger Stadium on Monday afternoon.
Chris Bassitt will take the hill for Oakland, and he’s been practically untouchable since the start of September. Over his last five starts, his ERA is 0.53. That includes the seven innings of one-run ball Bassitt tossed against the vaunted White Sox lineup in a must-win Wild Card round contest on Wednesday. Bassitt faced Houston three times in 2020 and went 1-1 with a 2.65 ERA. A’s manager Bob Melvin hopes for a seamless transition to closer Liam Hendriks, who converted all three save chances against the ‘Stros in the regular season.
Lance McCullers Jr., working on a 17 2/3-inning shutout streak, counters for Houston in this one. Even if McCullers can confound Oakland’s lineup for a while, it’s no sure thing that the Astros bullpen will do the same. Since Sept. 1, Houston’s relief corps has a 4.52 ERA, 18th in the majors.
New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays, 8:07 p.m. ET, TBS
Tue, October 6 2020, 12:07 AM
TB Rays[B. Snell]
NY Yankees[G. Cole]
Game 1 of the ALDS between the Yankees and Rays should be close from start to finish, but the Rays are the better bet as the "home" underdog.
Blake Snell, fresh off 5 1/3 shutout innings against the Blue Jays in the Wild Card round, starts for Tampa. He’s been highly-effective against most of New York’s best hitters in the past. Outfielder Aaron Judge is 1-for-16 (.063) lifetime against Snell. Infielders Gleyber Torres, Gio Urshela and Luke Voit are a combined 5-for-36 (.139). Snell will eventually hand things over to the Rays’ stable of reliable bullpen arms, which has a major-league best 2.56 ERA since the start of September.
Gerrit Cole, who had a 1.00 ERA in four September starts, thoroughly outdueled Cleveland’s Shane Bieber when tossing seven innings of two-run baseball (six hits, no walks, 13 Ks) last Tuesday. However, other than Atlanta (9.00 ERA), the Rays were the only team Cole really struggled against in the regular season. In three outings, Cole went 0-1 with a 4.96 ERA. The Yankees’ bullpen was a weak spot down the stretch, producing a 19th-best 4.67 ERA since Sept. 1.