The 2020 MLB season looked to be on shaky ground just a few days in after the Miami Marlins’ COVID-19 outbreak. But through all of the trials and tribulations, baseball forged ahead and has somehow reached its postseason. Sixteen teams are involved and eight of them will be in action Tuesday with all four American League pairings getting things started.
Get ready for an absolute duel between the best pitcher in the game in 2019, Gerrit Cole, and the best pitcher in the game in 2020, Shane Bieber. The Indians’ ace became the first pitcher since Johan Santana in 2006 to lead the league in wins, strikeouts and earned run average. Cole hasn’t been as immaculate this season, but the Yankees’ $324 million man is certainly pitching his best baseball right now; he has allowed just three earned runs in his last 27 innings.
A matchup between Hyun Jin Ryu and the Blue Jays’ handful of young stars against Tampa Bay’s Blake Snell really isn’t that bad. It’s just that this matchup, among the four on the slate, has the least amount of intrigue. Despite being in the same division, these teams aren’t exactly rivals. No casual fan is tuning in to watch this game, nor does anyone expect the eighth-seeded Jays to upset the team with the second-best record in baseball.
Most likely Game 1 upset
Houston Astros over the Minnesota Twins
The moneyline for this game is at -162 in favor of the Twins. There is no team in all of baseball that America is rooting against more in these playoffs than the Houston Astros, who finished the regular season under .500. But Houston’s Zack Greinke has a ton of postseason experience while this game will represent just the fourth playoff start for Twins starter Kenta Maeda; he didn’t make it past the fifth inning in his previous three back in 2016. Plus, despite their struggles for most of the year, you can’t overlook a lineup that contains the likes of George Springer, Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, etc.