America’s favorite pastime has looked different this year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The classic 162 game season was trimmed down to a mere 60. However, even though the season was short, playoff time for the MLB has arrived. The talent has been as prominent as ever in this shorter season. As the race for the pendant heats up, here are the five best contenders to win the 2020 World Series.
5. Atlanta Braves
The Braves came out looking like a team on a mission this season. Sitting atop the NL East with a regular season of 35-25, Atlanta has been a team to be reckoned with. As the playoff matchup begins against the Miami Marlins, who are fresh off sweeping the Chicago Cubs in the Wild Card series, eyes will be focused on Max Fried and Ian Anderson. Anderson in particular has proven himself to be a strong No. 2 starter behind Fried. If Fried is ruled out due to his ankle injury, Anderson will have to rely on his arsenal of slow-spinning fastballs and curves to throw the Marlins off their game.
4. San Diego Padres
Not a perennial contender for the pendant, the Padres have been riding the depth of their bullpen this season. Finishing second in the NL West at 37-23, the Padres have shown just how deep they can reach into their pitching lineup. Teams have been falling victim to even their eighth and ninth relievers. The Padres’ endeavors will be reliant on their ability to get off the diamond and allow their batting to carry them to victory.
3. New York Yankees
More than a decade has passed since the Yanks were seen in the World Series. The historic franchise is knocking on the door to the championship. However, the Yankees have been a mystery this season. Ending with a respectable 33-27, the Yankees have been a streaky team. Starting 16-6, the Yankees of old seemed to have reemerged. However, the club cooled and fell to a .500 record. They were then able to put together a ten-game winning streak, yet only won two of their last six. The Yankees’ postseason hopes appear to depend on which team shows up—the red hot sluggers from the beginning and middle of the season or the lackluster season enders.
2. Tampa Bay Rays
History may be in the making in Tampa. The Rays have never won it all, only claiming an AL pennant in 2008. This may be the year for Tampa, with Tom Brady leading the Buccaneers and the Lightning winning the Stanley Cup. The Rays ended with the second-best record in baseball at 40-20. Tampa has shown sporadic use of its relievers, which makes game planning a nightmare. But with a deep bullpen and big hitters, Tampa Bay fans are hoping to make history and bring home their first-ever World Series championship.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers
Very few would be surprised by this choice. The best record in baseball (43-17) this season, runners up in two of the past five World Series, the Dodgers are a solid club. Behind the killer arm of Clayton Kershaw, Vegas and the wider baseball world are putting the smart money behind the Dodgers. They are easily the team to beat this postseason.