The New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers
The New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers will be the significant teams to watch during this 2020 shortened baseball season. The MLB season still relies on the coronavirus allowing it to come to a conclusion.
Let’s take a look at why the Dodgers and Yankees are the MLB teams to watch. Before the coronavirus took over the direction of baseball, the New York Yankees seemed to be a sure fit for getting to the postseason and most likely winning it all and getting their 28th World Championship. The Yankees still seem to be the favorites, but they may not run away with it like in a regular season.
The Los Angles Dodgers have a potent lineup, and that was before they acquired the Boston Red Sox’s Mookie Betts. With the universal DH this year, the Dodgers get to add another big bat to that lineup. The Dodgers also have a great pitching rotation. David Price now a Dodger could return to the pitcher he was with the Rays now that he is facing mostly National League hitters. So It’s a win-win for the Dodgers who was the best National League team last year even though they didn’t get to the World Series.
The New York Yankees won 103 games last year while getting the award for the most injured players in baseball. This year it will be hard to come close to that number of injuries. With the tremendous bench, the Yankees even if they do have some injuries it shouldn’t be that much of an issue.
The big plus for the MLB Yankees is that their strong pitching rotation is greatly enhanced by the acquisition of one of the best pitchers in the game, Gerrit Cole, to lead off that rotation of James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, J.A. Happ and apparently Jordan Montgomery. But if any of those fail, the Yankees have plenty of backup options in Jonathan Loaisiga, Clarke Schmidt, Mike King, and even Dievi Garcia. And that’s not to mention the best bullpen in baseball.
Which of these teams makes it all the way will end up being for two reasons. One is that they didn’t have any long slumps of poor play and who ended up with the best bench players and bullpen. Advantage Yankees. But if they face each other in the World Series it will be a toss-up as to takes home the ring.
A look at the Houston Astros and other team’s chances
For the Houston Astros, it will be a double-edged sword. At least for this shortened season and with no fans in the stands, the Astros will not have to deal with boos, name-calling, and having beer cans thrown at them for their cheating ways.
The Houston Astros last year had arguably the best pitching rotation in baseball. This year the Astros have lost their best postseason pitcher in Gerrit cole, and back in March, Justin Verlander had groin surgery. When spring training starts anew next week, he will start to throw off the mound and won’t be available to go deep into games for some time. The Astros still have a potent lineup but will need help from their not so good bullpen. The Astros will not come even close to the success they had last year. They probably won’t have any hidden camera help either.
The Angels and the Nationals who have had recent MLB seasons with very slow starts, won’t have that luxury in a drastically shortened season. Unfortunately for fans of the Orioles, Royals, Tigers, Marlins, Pirates, Rockies, and Padres, you might as well hang it up because your teams will go nowhere.
Teams that could give the Dodgers and Yankees a run for their money are the Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, and the Tampa Bay Rays. The Dodgers will have to watch out for the Atlanta Braves, the Cardinals and the Diamondbacks.
I will admit I am going out on a limb in making these predictions as this will be a season like no one has ever seen before. In only 60 games, anything can happen. How the coronavirus effects different teams will also be telling. Whatever team in the three geographic divisions who get to the top, they will have to get off to a quick start, maintain it, and not be affected by the physical and emotional issues caused by the coronavirus.
The Cleveland Indians, the Minnesota Twins, or the Milwaukee Brewers could be the surprise break out teams of the shortened season.
After the first month of games, predictions will be a lot clearer.