After an unprecedented 60-game regular season, a newly expanded 16-team playoffs is underway this week. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays are the top-seeded teams in each league and the favorites to make the World Series. But as we know too well, favorites don’t always win, especially in baseball. This is sure to be a crazy month with a lot of great moments. This week, members of the DC Sports Section make their picks for the participants and ultimately the winner of the 2020 World Series.
2020 has been a weird year, that much is true. I could go on a generic path and have the Miami Marlins winning it all, but other teams have more talent that will carry them farther. On the American League side, I am going to pick the Tampa Bay Rays because of their incredible pitching rotation of Blake Snell, Tyler Glasgnow and Charlie Morton in addition to their all-around hitting core. They have the pieces there to make a huge impact during the month of October, and they will beat the Chicago White Sox in the ALCS in six games to reach the Fall Classic. On the National League side, I am going to go with the San Diego Padres, who have broken out to become an impressive team this year with Tatis and Machado on the hitting core and a pitching core of Dinelson Lamet and Zach Davies amongst others. They will defeat the Atlanta Braves or Chicago Cubs in seven games to reach the Fall Classic. As for the World Series, I am going to go with the Padres in seven because their hitting talent will help them pull through in the end against an otherwise dominant Rays pitching core.
It was a very odd season for the MLB to say the least. It seemed like no team was really able to reach their full potential due to the shortened season. Some teams shocked me like the Marlins, as I didn’t think they had a chance in the world, especially after all their COVID-19 cases. For the American League I’m going to stay true to my roots and say the New York Yankees. As a fan, I was very much disappointed this season, but they picked it up toward the end. In the National League, there are multiple teams that I believe are in a great position to make a run at the World Series, but the San Diego Padres lead the pack. They’re having a breakout season led by Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. along with a solid pitching core. Now when it comes to the Fall Classic, I think the Yankees will have the upper hand and win in six games. The main thing that I look for in the playoffs is depth and I believe the Yankees have the depth to go all the way.
This has to be the Dodgers’ year right? They’ve won eight straight division titles with nothing but a couple of World Series losses to show for it. I think it would only make sense that in this year’s extended playoffs, which could have so much volatility, the clear-cut best team in baseball will win. They have two former MVPs in Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger surrounded by a bunch of great players like Corey Seager, Justin Turner and AJ Pollock. They also have an amazing pitching staff headlined by Walker Buehler, Dustin May and future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw. This team is too good to lose this year. I have them beating the Oakland Athletics in a rematch of the 1988 World Series, which was the last time the Dodgers won. Oakland has put together a really good season thanks to great pitching, especially from its bullpen. That pitching will carry the A’s through the playoffs, but they will hit a brick wall in the World Series and lose to LA in five games.
At this exact moment, I am sitting in my dorm with a mouth full of sour apple Big League Chew — now that’s a throwback isn’t it. It’s going to be the Chicago White Sox taking home the trophy this season. I wrote about this in my column last week and my allegiance has not changed. I was not 100% on this when I made the prediction but Lucas Giolito’s dazzling performance in Game 1 of the Wild Card round put a nail in it for me. The White Sox have been incredibly exciting this season, and behind potential AL MVP Jose Abreu, leadoff stud Tim Anderson and their ace, no one is going to take them down.
2020 will be a year to remember for all sports fans. The first time is sports history where all four major sports played on the same day, a bubble NBA Playoffs and of course, the first ever 16-team MLB playoffs. If you ask me, this has to be the year for the Dodgers. They are rocking a star-studded lineup that can rival any team, with plenty of playoff experience and a solid starting rotation that can keep them in every game. I predict the Dodgers will defeat the Tampa Bay Rays in six games to finally take their long awaited World Series trophy back to the west coast.