After an unprecedented 60-game regular season, Major League Baseball is embarking on an equally unprecedented post-season.
Starting Tuesday, 16 teams slide into the playoffs — up from the 10 that we’ve grown accustomed to seeing over the last number of years — including the upstart Toronto Blue Jays.
The eighth-seeded Jays take on the Tampa Bay Rays, the American League’s top ranked ball club, in a best-of-three wild card series that will be played at Tropicana Field.
If Toronto manages to upset the Rays they will make their way to one of two MLB playoff bubbles that have been set up in California and Texas where the Divisional Series, ALCS and NLCS will be played, while this year’s World Series will be waged at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.
Anything can happen in a three-game series, but Tampa Bay is a better and deeper team than Toronto, at least on paper, and should win this series in three.
As for the rest of the playoffs, here are my picks for baseball’s most unpredictable post-season bracket.
Wild card series, American League
2) Oakland A’s over 7) Chicago White Sox
3) Minnesota Twins over 6) Houston Astros
5) New York Yankees over 4) Cleveland Indians
Wild card series, National League
1) Los Angeles Dodgers over 8) Milwaukee Brewers
7) Cincinnati Reds over 2) Atlanta Braves
3) Chicago Cubs over 6) Miami Marlins
4) San Diego Padres over 5) St. Louis Cardinals
AL Division Series – Tampa Bay over N.Y. Yankees, Oakland over Minnesota
NL Division Series – L.A. Dodgers over San Diego, Chicago over Cincinnati
AL Championship Series – Tampa Bay over Oakland
NL Championship Series – L.A. Dodgers over Chicago
World Series – L.A. Dodgers over Tampa Bay
As you can see, I’m not at all going out on a limb with a Fall Classic featuring the two best teams in 2020 but the Dodgers and Rays are the two teams, I think, are best positioned to succeed because of their talented starting rotations, deep lineup and they’re well coached.
After they lost in the World Series in 2017 and 2018, I’m selecting the Dodgers to win their first championship since 1988.
Rick Zamperin is the assistant program, news and senior sports director at Global News Radio 900 CHML.