"The Stack" 7-27-20

Nelson Cruz has been a man possessed so far for the Minnesota Twins. Three homeruns and 10 RBIs over the weekend have helped serve notice that the Bomba Squad is back for another year. Baseball has started!

The Stack is back on this Tuesday and sports are coming back. NASCAR and golf have been going on for a while. The Basketball Tournament has come and gone. The baseball season has begun and it may be gone just as fast as it came. We’ll have basketball and hockey previews later this week and over the next couple of weeks, but today it is about baseball…a different season preview of sorts. So let’s get right to “the stack” for today, Tuesday, July 28th:

2020 Baseball season preview

I will get to the news regarding the Miami Marlins cancelling their home opener against the Baltimore Orioles last night as well as the Philadelphia Phillies cancelling their series home opener with the New York Yankees momentarily.

What happened during the offseason since the Houston Astros lost in the World Series to the Washington Nationals. Of course, the Astros have been involved in a huge cheating scandal as have the Boston Red Sox. We won’t rehash that. Speaking of the Red Sox, they shipped Mookie Betts off to the Los Angeles Dodgers for several players and key prospects. The Red Sox season likely won’t go well, but maybe next year will be better.

Provided that COVID-19 doesn’t destroy the season and baseball is able to complete a season, it seems as though we are destined for a Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees World Series. The Yankees landed the prize fish, Gerrit Cole, to a monster contract worth over $300 million. The Dodgers got Betts. The coronavirus can certainly throw a wrench into things, but provided that both teams avoid any serious injuries (and with the Dodgers, Clayton Kershaw is a concern), then I think it seems fairly certain that these two teams are going to play in the World Series.

With baseball moving to a 16 team postseason, certainly the regular season is devalued. This season is going to be a spring, being as there are only 60 games and not the marathon 162 game schedule that we are normally accustomed to. What is baseball doing? Becoming the NBA? The NHL? More teams though, means more eyeballs and more money in October. And perhaps baseball is doing this to be fair to the teams who would otherwise recover from a slow 60 game start. But that’s the whole point of making every game in the regular season count. 60 games means every game matters. An expanded playoffs may mean we see a team that would otherwise have no chance over a full season like the Baltimore Orioles or Miami Marlins get in. We’ll see how it goes.

With that being said, I’ve grouped the teams into different categories based on how great of a chance I think they have to make the playoffs:

They’re a lock

· New York Yankees

· Los Angeles Dodgers

· Houston Astros

Likely to make the playoffs

· Atlanta Braves

· Minnesota Twins

· Chicago Cubs

· Milwaukee Brewers

· St. Louis Cardinals

· Cleveland Indians

· Tampa Bay Rays

If things break their way, they can get in

· San Diego Padres

· Chicago White Sox

· Los Angeles Angels

· Oakland A’s

· Philadelphia Phillies

· Washington Nationals

· New York Mets

· Cincinnati Reds

· Boston Red Sox

Unlikely to make the playoffs

· Colorado Rockies

· Toronto Blue Jays

· Arizona Diamondbacks

· Texas Rangers

· San Francisco Giants

Better luck next year

· Baltimore Orioles

· Miami Marlins

· Pittsburgh Pirates

· Kansas City Royals

· Detroit Tigers

· Seattle Mariners

Likely ALCS

Minnesota Twins VS New York Yankees

Likely NLCS

Atlanta Braves VS L.A. Dodgers

Likely World Series

New York Yankees VS L.A. Dodgers

World Series Champion

New York Yankees

Once again, the Dodgers come up short, but if this is the matchup, it should be stellar. Great pitchers. Tremendous hitters. What a series we would be in store for. Hopefully we get there.

Onto the more distressing and more important news. Sunday brought news that four Miami Marlins players had tested positive for COVID-19. The Marlins, coming off of a series win in Philadelphia against the Phillies, stayed in Philadelphia on Sunday. Then on Monday, reports came out that eight more players and coaches tested positive bringing the total number of positive cases to 13 in recent days (11 players and two coaches). The Marlins home opener against Baltimore on Monday was postponed as is their game today. The Phillies home game with the Yankees Monday night was postponed while they get tested. No determination on today’s game has been made yet, at least not as of the posting of this blog.

This is obviously concerning for Major League Baseball. If a team like the Marlins, and say what you want to about the Marlins being a bad team, but they are human beings at the end of the day, what happens if this happens to another team? Will they have to cancel their games? Will the season go on without said teams? Now it is worth noting that Florida and specifically Miami and South Florida are the very epicenter of the coronavirus, at least in the United States so maybe this shouldn’t be all that surprising. Still though, with cases rising around the United States, if baseball can’t even get through the first weekend of their 60 game sprint of a season without a crisis like they are on the verge of now with the Marlins, it does not bode well for the rest of the year.

Hopefully this is a minor speedbump and the Marlins all come out of this healthy and very few other teams if any go through this. The chances of that though seem highly unlikely. In any event though, play ball and enjoy Nelson Cruz and the Bomba Squad blasting homeruns for the Minnesota Twins.

Coming up later Thursday: Thoughts on the NBA season starting up