Big Al's Daily Angle: MLB Wild Card Playoffs Preview

by Big Al Staff

The first games of the four American League wild card playoff contests make up the Tuesday slate of games. The wildcard round is best-of-three showdowns with the higher seed hosting each game with the advantage of the final at-bat. With sixteen of the thirty-two MLB teams making the playoffs, a bracket was constructed for the American and National Leagues. The top three seeds are the Tampa Bay Rays, the Oakland A’s, and the Minnesota Twins for winning the AL East, West, and Central Divisions, with the Rays earning the top seed for owning the best record. The Cleveland Indians, the New York Yankees, and the Houston Astros earned the 4th through 6th seeds for finishing second in their division. The 7th and 8th seeds were awarded to the Chicago White Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays for having the two best records of teams finishing in 3rd place in their division.

The Twins host the Astros in the first game of the day at 2 PM ET. Minnesota may have caught a break being the 3rd seed despite having the fewest wins of the division winners as they drew a Houston team that has the worst record of all the AL playoff teams yet elevated to the 6th seed because of the seeding format. On the other hand, this Astros team played in the World Series last year after winning the championship in 2017. Zack Greinke takes the hill for Houston while Kenta Maeda will be the starting pitcher for the Twins. BetOnline lists Minnesota as a -163 money-line favorite with the total set at 7.5. ABC has the broadcast.

The A’s host the White Sox in the second game at 3 PM ET. Oakland received no seeding favors with the format having to play a Chicago team whose 35 wins were just one shy of what they accrued in the abbreviated regular season. With the White Sox starting Lucas Giolito in Game 1, BetOnline has them as the money-line favorite at a -120 price with the total set at 7.5. The A’s counter with their rookie Jesus Luzardo. This is Chicago’s first postseason appearance since 2008. Oakland has lost their last six playoff series. ESPN will televise the game.

The third game of the day takes place at 5 PM ET with Tampa Bay hosting Toronto. The Rays give the ball to Blake Snell. The Blue Jays will push back their expected starter for Game 1, Hyun-Jin Ryu, to later in this series after he experienced arm soreness in his last start. Matt Shoemaker takes his place as the starting pitcher for this opening game. BetOnline has Tampa Bay as the money-line favorite priced at -190 with an over/under of 7.5. TBS gets the broadcast.

The final game of the day has the Yankees traveling to Cleveland in a pitcher’s duel at 7 PM ET. Gerrit Cole gets the start for New York while the Indians call on Shane Bieber. New York led the American League with their 5.25 runs per game scoring average, but Cleveland led MLB by allowing only 3.48 runs per game. BetOnline has the Indians as a slight money-line favorite at a -106 price with the total at 6.5. ESPN televises the game. 

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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