2020 Major League Baseball Divisional Series staff predictions


Image via CBS Sports Boston

By Kennedy Collier and Mitchell Ross

Since the sports staff is dying to cover any form of sports, the MLB playoffs came at just the right time. With the postseason starting on Sept. 29, there have already been treated to some good matchups. The Divisional round is already underway with the Astros and Rays owning 2-1 series leads and the Dodgers holding 2-0 series lead. The Braves advanced this afternoon, sweeping Miami in three games.

In this article, Moorpark Reporter sports writers make their predictions on the rest of the second round, with expert analysis. Two colleagues, Mitchell Ross and Kennedy Collier, will go head to head in a winner takes all battle. A battle of wits, knowledge and most importantly guts.

Below are the predictions and reasoning behind each pick.

(AL 1) Tampa Bay Rays vs. (AL 5) New York Yankees

Image credit David Dermer via Yahoo Sports
Image credit David Dermer via Yahoo Sports

Game 1: Yankees 9, Rays 3

Game 2: Rays 7, Yankees 5

Game 3: Rays 8, Yankees 4

Game 4: Thurs., Oct. 8

Game 5: Fri., Oct. 9

Ross (Rays in five): This matchup sees two division rivals face-off, giving us a familiar matchup to enjoy. The series comes down to pitching. The advantage in the starting rotation to the Rays, who pitched to the third-lowest team earned run average in baseball this year. Behind studs like Blake Snell, the former Cy Young winner from 2018, and Charlie Morton, the crafty veteran, the Rays can silence the Yankee bats. New York finished among the middle of the pack for team ERA. The offensive advantage goes to the Yankees. When this team is on, they are a hard team to beat. The battle of the bullpen is a toss-up. Both squads boast a solid pen.

This is the year Tampa Bay makes some noise, and the AL’s number one seed advances to the ALCS in a 5-game thriller.

Collier (Yankees in four): This Yankees are the greatest franchise in baseball history versus the Tampa Bay Rays. With Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge beaming balls out of the park and a solid bullpen, it’s hard to go against this New York team.

The gut says this one is easy. Yankees in four.

(AL 2) Oakland Athletics vs. (AL 6) Houston Astros

Image credit Hannah Foslien via New York Times
Image credit Hannah Foslien via New York Times

Game 1: Astros 10, Athletics 5

Game 2: Astros 5, Athletics 2

Game 3: Athletics 9, Astros 7

Game 4: Thurs., Oct. 8

Game 5: Fri., Oct. 9

Ross (Athletics in four): This series comes down to the bullpen. The A’s have a decidedly better bullpen than the Astros. Their 63 runs given up in the regular season was topped by almost 20 runs. Houston has the star names and the potential that those stars bring. The bats of Springer and Altuve can lead the way for Houston. Oakland won seven of 10 head-to-head matchups this year without losing at home once. If their bullpen holds up as they did in the regular season, Oakland will be punching their ticket to the ALCS.

Collier (Athletics in five): Moorpark College doesn’t care for cheaters. Didn’t like the show, don’t like the Astros. If there is any justice in this world the A’s should be able to take care of the Astros if they can get good hitting from Marcus Semien, which they will. Ross is correct about the importance of the bullpen. It will be the deciding factor in this series.

Oakland in five.

(NL 1) Los Angeles Dodgers vs. (NL 4) San Diego Padres

Image credit Rick Scuteri via USA Today Sports
Image credit Rick Scuteri via USA Today Sports

Game 1: Dodgers 5, Padres 1

Game 2: Dodgers 6, Padres 5

Game 3: Thurs., Oct. 8

Game 4: Fri., Oct. 9

Game 5: Sat., Oct. 10

Ross (Dodgers in four): The series comes down to which team can remain disciplined and who can execute in the most crucial moments of the game. Both lineups can hit the long ball. The deciding factor lies with the pitching staff.

San Diego will put up a fight and every game will be close, but the Dodgers lineup is just so much better than any other team in baseball this year. Clayton Kershaw hasn’t been this well rested and well preserved for an October run at any other point in his illustrious career. The Dodgers will face their toughest matchup in the Division round and come out on top.

Collier (Padres in five): On one team, you have Fernando Tatís Jr. a man who makes old white guys that want nothing more than to keep the game frozen in the 1900s, super angry. This guy is the future of baseball. The gut is saying the Dodgers are a joke and Kershaw will choke as he has always done in the postseason. The only saving grace for the Dodgers may be Mookie Betts and Corey Seager if they can provide the hits. But unfortunately, they will have no control over what happens on the mound.

Padres in five.

(NL 2) Atlanta Braves vs. (NL 6) Miami Marlins

Image via Getty Images
Image via Getty Images

Game 1: Braves 9, Marlins 5

Game 2: Braves 2, Marlins 0

Game 3: Braves 7, Marlins 0

Ross (Braves in three): This series comes down to star talent. The Braves greatly outpower the Marlins, who finished 12th in the NL in HR with 60 to Atlanta’s 103. Atlanta also finished second in the NL in total runs scored. Acuna and Freeman are just too much for the Marlins to advance.

The Braves sweep the Marlins on the backs of Acuna and Freeman. Max Fried and the Atlanta pitching staff overpower the underpowered Marlins lineup and win in three straight games. This is the only series sweep of the divisional round.

Collier (Marlins in four): Trying to name a single Miami starter or pitcher is a tall task, but it’s hard to feel bad about that since ESPN’s Baseball Tonight has just had much trouble trying to name a single player without consulting their notes. If the Marlins can make it to the postseason fielding some janitor that they found in the stadium, why can’t they win it all?

It is surprising that Derek Jeter was able to turn this franchise around as soon as he did. Give props to “The Captain” as this has been a pretty good week for Jeter. He gets his team into the playoffs and Mariah Carey recently revealed she wrote two songs about him. Not bad Jeter.

Update: The Braves swept Miami following a 7-0 shutout win this afternoon.