The 2020 Major League Baseball postseason continues Wednesday with a packed eight-game schedule in the best-of-three Wild Card Series. There are four games in both the American League and National League sides of the bracket, and four AL teams are trying to advance to the divisional round.
Because all of the Wild Card Series games are being played at the ballparks of higher-seeded teams, there will be no days off during these rounds. Here’s the full schedule for the best-of-three Wild Card Series on Wednesday. Games on ESPN and ESPN2 can be streamed via fuboTV (Try for free).
Wild Card Series schedule for Wednesday
(All times are U.S/Eastern)
- Game 1: Braves 1, Reds 0 (FINAL) — ATL leads 1-0
- Game 2: Astros 3, Twins 1 (FINAL) — HOU advances 2-0
- Game 1: Marlins 5, Cubs 1 (FINAL) — MIA leads 1-0
- Game 2: Athletics 5, White Sox 3 (FINAL) — Series tied 1-1
- Game 2: Rays 8, Blue Jays 2 (TBS) — TB leads 1-0
- Game 1: Cardinals 6, Padres 2 (ESPN2)
- Game 2: Yankees at Cleveland, 7 p.m. (ESPN) — NYY leads 1-0
- Game 1: Brewers at Dodgers, 10 p.m. (ESPN)
Now, here are some takeaways from the day’s action:
Astros knock out Twins
The No. 3 seed Twins saw their postseason nightmares continue this week. With the 3-1 loss to the Astros in Game 2, the Twins extended their record MLB playoff losing streak to 18 games and were knocked out of the postseason in the process. The devastating streak dates back to the 2004 ALDS, and is the longest in North American sports history. Houston, the team with the worst regular season record (29-31) in the playoff field, knocked out Minnesota in two games at Target Field.
Aside from the fact the the Twins were simply a far better team than the Astros during the regular season, the Twins also held a 24-7 (.774) record when playing at home. Furthermore, the Astros had been terrible when playing on the road during the regular season, compiling an atrocious 9-23 (.281) record on the road. The Twins home record was the highest win percentage since the 1975 Reds, while the Astros away record is the worst road winning percentage by a playoff team in the World Series era.
Frustrations piled up for the Twins in Wednesday’s elimination game when the Twins’ offense went ice cold. Altogether in the two Wild Card Series games, the Twins lineup managed just seven hits and two runs. Minnesota’s usually hot bats going quiet during the postseason isn’t a new storyline. The last time the Twins scored more than four runs in a playoff game was when they scored five runs in a loss to the Yankees on Oct. 9, 2004.
Braves only need one
Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman secured a 1-0 victory with a walk-off single in the 13th inning of Atlanta’s series opener against the Reds on Wednesday. Freeman’s knock was just the sixth of the day for a Braves team that reached base six fewer times than the Reds did.
What everyone will remember about Game 1 was how dominant the pitching was for both teams. The Braves were paced by left-hander Max Fried, who struck out five over seven shutout frames. Atlanta then received three-plus perfect frames from relievers Chris Martin, Will Smith, and Mark Melancon before turning things over to the rest of the bullpen. Darren O’Day, Tyler Matzek, Shane Greene, and A.J. Minter bent but didn’t break by putting on eight baserunners and stranding them all across 2 2/3 shutout frames.
The Reds arguably outpitched the Braves. Trevor Bauer struck out 12 and allowed just two hits in 7 2/3 innings. Raisel Iglesias, Lucas Sims, and Michael Lorenzen then combined to strike out nine batters and gave up a hit and two walks over four-plus innings. Archie Bradley and Amir Garrett couldn’t keep the good times rolling with no margin for error, however. Every starter on both teams struck out at least once, resulting in a record 37 punch outs. As our Mike Axisa noted elsewhere, the Braves and Reds also set a record for the longest scoreless playoff game. It was just that kind of afternoon.
Oakland flips the script?
Playoff success for the A’s since the days of the Bash Brothers has been difficult to come by. From 2000-13, there were six Game 5 losses in the ALDS. They did win one ALDS, but then got swept in the ALCS. Since that stretch, there have been three wild card games and the A’s lost all three. Looping in the last two with Game 1 here in 2020, the A’s had zero leads in any playoff game after losing the 2014 Wild Card Game to the Royals.
With their backs against the wall on Wednesday, however, the A’s delivered the goods early. They got two in the first thanks to a Nick Madrigal error, though they got three singles before that and putting the ball in play is always preferred to striking out. Then in the bottom of the second, Marcus Semien muscled up for a two-run shot:
The A’s counterpart, however, was excellent. Chris Bassitt worked seven innings and allowed just one run on six hits. Oakland nearly coughed up a three-run lead in the ninth, but Jake Diekman got Jose Abreu to ground out with the bases load to end the threat and the game.
Looking ahead to Game 3, the A’s could run lefty Sean Manaea out there, but there’s a caveat. The White Sox are now 15-0 this season in games started by left-handers, including Game 1 against Jesus Luzardo. Here’s how the Sox fared in the regular season against each side:
vs. RHP: .253/.313/.436
vs. LHP: .285/.364/.523
With that in mind, maybe the choice will be righty Mike Fiers?
Yankees-Cleveland Game 2
Game 1 was touted as the best pitching duel of the season with Gerrit Cole facing Shane Bieber, but instead, resulted in the Yankees offense blowing out Cleveland. It’s possible that Game 2 could make up for the nonexistent pitching battle, with Tanaka and Carrasco set to take the mound in a potential elimination game for Cleveland. Tanaka has been lights-out in the postseason, and the veteran owns a 1.76 ERA with 37 strikeouts in eight playoff starts.
Brewers-Dodgers Game 1
Milwaukee has decided to go with a bullpen game in the Wild Card Series opener. Suter and his fellow bullpenners will face the best offense in baseball.