Well, the 2020 MLB Playoffs are upon us. Despite all the obstacles, all but two teams (St. Louis and Detroit) managed to play the full 60 game slate. Now 16 teams will embark upon a modified playoff journey suitable to this most unique 2020 season. Who will be left standing at the end, raising the World Series trophy in Arlington, Texas at the end of October?
Join us as we preview each MLB playoff series, diving into what’s at stake for each team, how they stack up, and the keys to victory for each squad.
So, let’s check-in ahead of the Wild Card series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Milwakee Brewers.
The Dodgers have made eight straight postseasons and been to (and lost) two of the last three World Series. Milwaukee has made the last three postseasons.
The two teams played in the 2018 NLCS with the Dodgers winning in seven games.
Milwaukee’s Keys to Victory: Rely on 2020 to continuing being batshit crazy.
Unfortunately, this is likely Milwaukee’s best chance as they simply don’t stack up to the freight train that is the Los Angeles Dodgers this season.
On offense, Brewers superstar Christian Yelich saw a drastic drop in his numbers during the shortened season compared to his MVP-caliber 2018 & 2019. If Yelich can challenge Mookie Betts for the best OF in the series that could help the Brewers’ cause, but it still likely won’t be enough.
A wild card is DH Daniel Vogelbach who is essentially the main character from “The Kid Who Only Hit Homers” all grown up. Vogelbach hit 30 HR last season but was then essentially “given away” by the Mariners and Blue Jays this year. If he can get hot for 2-3 games here (and he did have a .987 OPS w/ 4 HR in September) maybe the Brewers can steal a game.
The Brewers pitching is nothing to get excited about where it’s going up against the #1 offense in baseball. Someone to keep an eye on though is reliever Devin Williams. Williams pitched 27 innings this year, allowing one earned run and striking out 53 batters with an ERA+ of 1375 (not a typo). Now, if he could just replicate those 27 innings over these three games the Brewers could be in business.
Los Angeles’ Keys to Victory: Continue being the 2020 Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Dodgers had one of the best lineups in baseball and then they traded for a future hall-of-famer in his prime in Betts. As poorly as this has gone for the Red Sox and their fans, it couldn’t be better for LA as Betts led the league in WAR during the shortened season.
Betts and the rest of the lineup hit the most home runs in the league and struck out less times than almost any other team. This team is stacked and will continue being an offensive power in the series.
The pitching staff was also #1 in the league in earned runs and #2 in home runs allowed. Clayton Kershaw famously has some postseason flops, but those typically come in the later rounds. The rest of the rotation and bullpen are also talented enough where they should not have much difficulty with a weak Brewers lineup.
Final Call: Dodgers in 2
A good rule of thumb is to be very good at scoring runs while also being very good at keeping the other team from scoring. No one was better at either thing this season than the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Milwaukee Brewers will not be able to change that in this series.
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