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2020 American League Division Series: Astros vs. Athletics and Yankees vs. Rays Game 1

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The AL series begin... in NL parks.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The American League playoffs will take place at National League ballparks so as to not give any of the teams involved home-field advantage. The Athletics and Rays finished with better regular-season records than their opponents, so in these best-of-five series they will bat last in Games 1, 2 and 5.

Regarding these matchups, there’s been quite a bit of bad blood between these teams, per this MLB.com article. Yankees/Rays:

Maybe it started when CC Sabathia yelled a few colorful words at the Tampa Bay dugout a couple of years ago. And this season, there was that Aroldis Chapman fastball that ended up near Michael Brosseau’s head that prompted Rays manager Kevin Cash to issue this threat: “I’ve got a whole damn stable full of guys who throw 98 miles per hour. Period.”

The Rays won eight of 10 from the Yankees during the regular season. Prediction: Rays in five games. But:

Astros/A’s:

The Astros hit A’s center fielder Ramon Laureano in back-to-back at-bats in August, and after the second one, benches cleared after he and Astros coach Alex Cintron exchanged words.

Cintron was suspended for 20 games. Laureano’s suspension was reduced to four games from six.

That dustup speaks volumes about how these teams feel about one another. The A’s believe the Astros were stealing signs for a few years before they got caught. Virtually every single thing that came out last offseason had been whispered by the A’s.

Only thing is, no one with inside knowledge of what the Astros were doing was willing to speak publicly. And then A’s pitcher Mike Fiers, a former member of the Astros, did what no one else was willing to do.

Before it ended, the Astros had seen their 2017 championship tainted and general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch suspended for the ‘20 season (and fired by Astros owner Jim Crane).

So there are certainly enough storylines for a five-game series, and since none of the teams is playing at its home park, that should level the playing field to some extent. Both the Astros and A’s did play games in Dodger Stadium this year.

The A’s won seven of 10 from the Astros during the regular season. Prediction: A’s in four games.

Also, good news: It appears TBS is keeping Ernie Johnson solely on studio work this postseason. Play-by-play will be called by Don Orsillo and Brian Anderson throughout the AL playoffs. Both are very good at what they do.

If you aren’t around a TV but have a cable/satellite subscription, you can see the games on the Watch TBS app or TBS.com.

Here’s all the information you’ll need for the two games today.

Astros vs. Athletics at Dodger Stadium, 3:07 p.m. CT

Lance McCullers Jr., RHP vs. Chris Bassitt, RHP

TV: TBS. Announcers: Don Orsillo, Jeff Francoeur and Matt Winer

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

Poll

Who will win the Astros/Athletics series?

This poll is closed

  • 30%
    Astros
    (4 votes)
  • 69%
    Athletics
    (9 votes)
13 votes total Vote Now

Yankees vs. Rays at Petco Park, 7:07 p.m. CT

Gerrit Cole, RHP vs. Blake Snell, LHP

TV: TBS. Announcers: Brian Anderson, Ron Darling and Lauren Shehadi

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

Poll

Who will win the Rays/Yankees series?

This poll is closed

  • 53%
    Rays
    (7 votes)
  • 46%
    Yankees
    (6 votes)
13 votes total Vote Now

This will be the only thread for today’s games. Enjoy, and discuss amongst yourselves.