Well, the 2020 MLB Playoffs are upon us. As baseball finally moves into its Bubble phase, 16 teams are squaring off to determine this year’s World Series champion. While it’s hard to think that there won’t be an asterisk next to the 2020 title, a champion will be crowned.
The MLB is a fickle beast. Star-driven and tank-friendly, teams in the dumpster one year can be the king of the mountain the next. With that, stakes are high for almost every team as they make their playoff run, with sought-after stars often heading for greener pastures if they feel their squad can’t get over the hump.
We’re looking at each of the MLB playoff contenders and diving into what’s at stake for each team, the odds of making a deep run, and key storylines to watch.
Let’s hit the Toronto Blue Jays and their chances of securing a ring in 2020.
Expectations: Enjoy the Ride
Even in the chaos that is 2020, the Toronto Blue Jays have had one of the more challenging rides this season. It all started right before the season was to kick off the team found out they would be road warriors.
Think about that. Literally a week before the season is set to begin, the team finds out they won’t enjoy the benefits of “home cooking” or sleeping in their own beds. Instead, after entertaining numerous options that didn’t pan out, the club and MLB settled on Sahlen Field in Buffalo, NY. You’d be forgiven if you had written off the postseason for this team, but now that they’ve made the party, they will look to do as much dancing as they can before they get kicked out.
What’s Working For Them: “Chemistry? Yeah, Chemistry”.
This club is chock full of youngsters, much like the White Sox. By all accounts, this season was to be a continuation of a rebuild. The core of their lineup, (Biggio, Bichette, Guerrero, Jr., Hernandez), are all 27 or younger. Perhaps it’s that youthful exuberance, mixed with the circumstances foisted upon them by the pandemic, but through an admittedly up and down season, these guys never quit.
Their manager, baseball lifer Charlie Montoyo, has them focused and believing in themselves. Their season was littered with dramatic comebacks, and in this 2020 version of MLB, those comebacks have landed them their first playoff berth since 2016.
Throughout the season, they’ve picked each other up. When it came time to decide their path at the trade deadline, the club decided to roll the dice and make a playoff push. It’s paid off, and they could prove a tricky matchup for the Rays.
What Might Hold Them Back: Inexperience? Inconsistency?
This is more speculation than anything else. Like I said earlier, nobody expected these guys to be THIS good THIS soon, especially given all of the other headaches 2020 has presented. But, here we are. A few of the guys on the roster do have some playoff pedigree but dreaming about it and living through it are different animals. Can they ultimately go on a long enough run to go deep, or will the roller coaster that was their regular season be their undoing in October?
Storyline to Watch: The Kids
I know, I sound like a broken record, but it’s true. I grew up watching these guys’ fathers play. Now, we get to sit back and watch the next generation put their own stamp on the game. Regardless of the outcome, it’s sure to be an exhilarating watch.
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