USA TODAY Sports activities’ Steve Gardner breaks down the highest storylines in MLB to this point.


This maximum abnormal baseball season will result in a predictably abnormal type. 

The pandemic playoffs shall be like not anything Main League Baseball has ever staged, what with unmarried websites for its jewel match, nearly no off days and a couple of couch-worthy days of hardball gluttony all the way through the expanded first around. 

Ostensibly, the focal point shall be on protection, which is why the MLB finals shall be staged at a unmarried web site, North Texas’ Globe Existence Park, for the primary time since 1944. At the same time as commissioner Rob Manfred entertains the considered inviting lovers for the general two rounds, mitigating the coronavirus will in large part body the league’s movements as they vie to rake in $787 million in earnings from their broadcast companions. 

So, what does that imply for this 16-team lottery? A short lived and frankly incomplete information to October baseball, 2020-style: 

The fundamentals

As you most likely know by way of now, 8 groups every from the American and Nationwide leagues get in, and can compete in three-game collection contested completely on the house of the upper seed. The AL is going Sept. 29-Oct. 1 and the NL Sept. 30-Oct. 2.

The winners advance to Department Sequence matchups as follows: 

ALDS, San Diego: Winners of the No. 1 vs. No. eight and Nos. Four-Five first-round collection, Oct. Five-Nine. 

ALDS, Los Angeles: 2-7, Three-6 winners, Oct. Five-Nine.

NLDS, Arlington: Winners of the No. 1 vs. No. eight and Nos. Four-Five first-round collection, Oct. 6-10.

NLDS, Houston: 2-7, Three-6 winners, Oct. 6-10. 

The AL (San Diego) and NL (Arlington) championship collection will start Oct. 11 and 12, respectively, with doable 7th video games deliberate Oct. 17 and 18. 

The MLB finals will start on the standard Tuesday, Oct. 20, with a conceivable Recreation 7 on Oct. 28.

The Texas Rangers' home ballpark Globe Life Field will host the 2020 World Series.

The Texas Rangers’ house ballpark Globe Existence Box will host the 2020 Global Sequence. (Photograph: Kevin Jairaj, USA TODAY Sports activities)

The load

Have you ever carried out the mathematics on the ones dates, but? Did you realize that there are precisely 0 off days within the first around, Department Sequence and LCS rounds? 

Sure, within the identify of increasing the playoff box and, possibly, construction in some wriggle room within the match of delays led to by way of COVID-19 checking out, tracing and keeping apart, the loss of shuttle manner no shuttle days. 

So, say good-bye to the perception of Lucas Giolito or Hyun-jin Ryu or Sixto Sanchez or another aces beginning a near-majority in their groups’ early-round video games. No, intensity shall be the secret, with starters restricted to only one get started within the opening and Department Sequence rounds, with the potential for beginning Video games 1 and six of an LCS. 

Positive, it is conceivable to pitch on 3 days’ relaxation, however with pitcher accidents rampant, an additional around of playoffs to navigate and the whole lot about this season compressed, that turns out a possibility maximum groups could be unwilling to take. 

Groups, then, must lean on their No. Four starter just about up to their ace, and drop the perception of bringing again starters out of the bullpen; the Washington Nationals’ 2019 gambit of leaning closely on six pitchers to win a championship shall be nearly unimaginable this 12 months. 

It is going to additionally impact bullpen-reliant groups, too, what and not using a off days for the ones energy hands to recharge. The largest winners on this layout? Most probably golf equipment just like the Rays, Dodgers and Athletics, who would not have a Gerrit Cole on personnel however do function superb hands within the rotation and bullpen each, giving them an opportunity to win each and every evening. 

Even with out a ruin.  

The binge-worthy

Expanded playoffs manner extra baseball. Much more. 

As in, are you in a position for an octuple-header? 

So it can be on Sept. 30 when, assuming the elements and infectious sicknesses cooperate, 8 playoff video games shall be staged: 4 Recreation 1s of the NL first-round collection and 4 Recreation 2s within the AL. Some other eight-pack might be within the offing the following day, will have to all 4 AL collection cross the gap. 

With ESPN televising seven of the 8 first-round collection, they’ll in truth must trot out The Ocho.

For the ones extra acquainted with Department Sequence quadrupleheaders, concern now not. In truth, there might be 4 instantly days of ’em. 

Oct. 6 and seven will function Recreation 2 and three of the ALDS and Recreation 1 and a couple of of the NLDS. If all of the collection come what may cross the gap, there will be two extra quadrupleheaders on Oct. eight and Nine. 

The base line

This 12 months began with the commissioner calling the trophy bearing his identify “a work of steel” and endured with many traditionalists questioning in regards to the worth of a championship performed after a 60-game common season, and with with regards to any workforce .500 or higher going in. 

Having a look on the layout, it is transparent any workforce that survives this crucible may have earned the championship. Indubitably, it should elevate higher weight if it is one of the crucial many groups enjoying higher than .600 ball this summer time, or golf equipment which were persistently just right in recent times. 

Or, getting again to the Dodgers and Rays and possibly the Yankees, ideally each. 

Both method, whoever will get passed the trophy at Globe Existence Park may have earned it – even supposing it appears not anything like the game has ever observed.


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