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LL picks the MLB playoffs: who we want to win, who we think will win

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Go everyone who isn’t the Astros, basically

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Diego Padres
no surprise: we’re all-in on the NL Mariners
Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

It’s time for the annual off-season tradition of picking which ponies we’re going to ride through the playoffs, the specific and bittersweet joy of being fans of a team that never makes it to said playoffs. We can hitch our wagons to any star! But we are also Responsible Baseball Journalists, so for each matchup we’re giving you our considered opinions on who our heart of hearts wants to win, and who our big baseball brains say will actually win. Skip to the bottom if you don’t care what we think and just want to vote for your choices. Also, programming note: we’ll have one game thread covering all the games throughout the day, since they start at...extremely early, non-workplace-friendly times. Man wouldn’t you be so pissed if the Mariners had made it and they had to play the Yankees at like 9 AM on a Tuesday with no fans? See, it’s actually good we extended our playoff drought another year.

American League:

Blue Jays at Rays:

Think TOR will win: Nary a one of us. Huh.

Think TB will win: KP, TC, MA, ES, MR, JT, GB, CD

Want TOR to win: JT

Want TB to win: KP, TC, MA, ES, MR, GB, CD

Comments:

ES: Even though Ji-Man Choi is out with a bad hammy, I still gotta root for the bizarro Mariners of Tampa just because hey look who’s on top of the AL East? It ain’t the Yankees or the Red Sox, that’s for sure.

KP: As much as I enjoy building a team out of Literal Large Adult Sons, it’s time for the Rays to get theirs. They can pitch and they can hit and they were the most consistent team in the AL East this season, and also, seem to possess a cursed amulet that renders Yankees fans incoherent with rage, and I personally enjoy that.

JT: Look. Toronto fans in Seattle are predominantly a menace. Garish houseguests who stomp mud on your carpet, blow their nose in your curtains, and ask if you have any real food while they guzzle a beer you were saving for a special occasion. BUT… the Rays have such a low-wattage (in terms of interest, not quality) lineup I cannot get excited about watching their sum-of-their-parts plate appearances, sorry Mike Zunino and Brandon Lowe. Toronto is a weak playoff team, but I’ll flip over every time the Biggio/Bichette/Guerrero part of the order comes up, even if Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow rip it to shreds quickly.

TC: First of all, John, this is Yandy Diaz erasure. Erasing Yandy Diaz takes a long time because his biceps cover so much space. Also the Rays had a 109 team wRC+! Fourth in the AL! The Rays have long had a reputation for being weak offensively but this team doesn’t deserve that and I will stan them incredibly hard. Do you know who has an offense marginally worse than the Rays? The Toronto Blue Jays.

MR: I can’t wait for the Rays to use 17 pitchers in a two-game sweep!

White Sox at A’s:

Think CWS will win: ES, JT, GB, CD

Think OAK will win: KP, TC, MA, MR

Want CWS to win: All of us except Mikey, henceforth known as the Traitor Prince of LL

Want OAK to win: MA

Comments:

ES: Would love for Billy Beane’s shit to continue to famously not work in the playoffs.

MA: Eric you love Billy Beane’s shit?

ES: I….no…..have you not read or seen Moneyball, Mikey?

MR: All I know is this series will be the best jersey matchup of the first round. The White Sox also have about 14 guys that I love watching and the always fun angle of not qualifying for the playoffs in a while.

KP: The White Sox falling apart towards the end of the season scares me, but this A’s team sans Matt Chapman (Mattless Chaps?) doesn’t look like the same crushing force that won the AL West. If Chicago’s bats come out of slumbertime this could be a close one, and I love the chaos factor of “screw your timelines, we’re doing the rebuild in one year,” but I fear they were getting, as Twitter bros love to say, EXPOSED towards the end of the season/what should be a midpoint for a normal season.

TC: Tim Anderson is going to try to drag Luis Robert’s limp form into the second round, but it won’t be quite enough. As an aside, I don’t know that I can name a single White Sox starting pitcher beyond Giolito.

JT: The A’s just looked like a pretty even matchup for the Mariners. Yes, the ChiSox have been slipping badly, but their bullpen is every bit the force at full health as Oakland’s, with a better top of the rotation in Giolito and Dallas Keuchel than the A’s, and a more imposing lineup to boot.

GB: I hate how the Rookie of the Year race has made me dislike Luis Robert. Because he’s a pretty fun player. Put me down on record as predicting a Robert surge this series (despite the fact that all indications would suggest the opposite).

Astros at Twins:

Think HOU will win: 2020 has damaged us all, but not into believing the Astros win here

Think MIN will win: All of us

Want HOU to win: No one, that’s grounds for firing

Want MIN to win: Everyone, or again, the fieriest of firings. So so fired.

Comments:

ES: Die, Asstros, die. Take no mercy on their eternally damned souls, Nelson.

KP: I have been dreaming all season of who I would like to see take down the Astros. Crushed by the offensive juggernaut of the Yankees? Held to zero runs by Cleveland’s pitching staff? Out-foxed by the Rays, who are like when the Astros were the upstart disruptors of baseball but without the cheating that ultimately tarnished their legacy? Or maybe they make it all the way to the WS so the Dodgers can finally extract some long-brewing revenge. But I will accept Nelson Cruz relentlessly smashing dingers until the Astros pitchers as a group quit the team and move to a remote European country that’s never even heard of baseball to open a BnB.

MR: The real question is why are the Astros even allowed in the postseason?

GB: My hot(?) take: If the ‘Stros lineup continues to falter next season, MLB should increase their punishment and/or strip the team of their title. I care not for your “double jeopardy.”

Yankees at Cleveland:

Think NYY will win: KP, ES

Think CLE will win: TC, MA, MR, JT, GB, CD

Want NYY to win: KP, ES, MR, JT

Want CLE to win: TC, MA, GB, CD

MA: Comments: how dare you, kate.

KP: Says the lone staffer to pick the plucky little A’s to win. Okay, Heyma-jeto.

ES: Fuck the Yankees, first and foremost, but Cleveland somehow has an even more hateable roster outside of Lindor. Plus, the bad name they are dragging their feet on changing. Fuck ‘em all.

KP: Listen, I’m just rooting for the Yankees to get through here so they’ll face the Rays, who are the Yankees’ kryptonite for whatever reason, and then I will watch Yankee fans melt down in real time on Twitter. It’s what keeps me warm in the winter.

TC: I appreciate the commitment to sustainable forms of power, but I have to side with them: some moral costs are simply too great to pay.

MR: I am worried that both of these teams — the Yankees with their never ending injury list, and Cleveland as the cheapest team around — will both try to paint themselves as underdogs. However, the postseason always feels more postseason-y when the Yankees go deep, so I will support them in this matchup.

NL Games:

Brewers at Dodgers:

Think MIL will win: None of us. Sorry, Vogey.

Think LAD will win: All of us.

Want MIL to win: MR, ES, CD

Want LAD to win: TC, MA, KP, JT, GB

Comments:

MA: I just want Kershaw to get a ring...even if it means sacrificing my beloved Yelich and Burnes.

KP: Every year I pick the Dodgers to win and root for the Dodgers to win so Kershaw can get his ring and because I believe in the way LAD has built their team, and every year they disappoint. But this year they’ll do it, I just know it. This will be the year. Oh, what’s that, Lucy? A football? I should try to kick it, yes? Yes.

ES: (dreams quietly about Daniel Vogelbach hitting a playoff series winning walk-off grand slam) huh what oh yeah, the Brewers are definitely toast.

MR: We are way past the point of sympathy rooting for the Dodgers. Watching them crumble in the playoffs is my favorite performance art, and even though they compel me from a team-building standpoint, nothing would be funnier than the most talented team Hollywood has ever had getting bounced by a sub-.500 team from the Midwest.

Reds at Braves:

Think CIN will win: MA. TC, JT

Think ATL will win: KP, MR, ES, GB, CD

Want CIN to win: KP, MA, TC, JT, CD

Want ATL to win: MR, ES, GB

Comments:

MA: I love everything about this Reds, except for Trevor Bauer. I do not love Trevor Bauer.

KP: Tempted to root against CIN just because I cannot imagine how insufferable World Champion Trevor Bauer would be, but Cincinnati fans have suffered enough in a general sense, and the Reds actually tried to get better this season. I don’t think they can compete with the Atlanta offense, but their superior pitching should keep them in it longer. Go Big Red!

MR: The Braves have Ronald Acuña Jr. and, (and!) no fans in the stadium this year to do the Tomahawk Chop! Braves in two.

GB: Does Félix get a ring if the Braves win it all?

Marlins at Cubs:

Think MIA will win: KP, MA, ES, CD

Think CHC will win: TC, MR, JT, GB

Want MIA to win: All of us

Want CHC to win: None of us, we aren’t monsters

Comments:

KP: Not sure if I really believe the Marlins can take down the Cubs or just desperately want it to be true, but I love that they made it in despite playing a couple weeks with players who had never been closer to the big leagues than sitting in the stands. Go Team Chaos, Go Marlins.

TC: It is 2020, so bad things will keep happening and the Cubs will win.

MA: With a few scuffling Cubs, I’m not convinced the Marlins can’t go toe to toe with them. They have the pitching, it all hinges on their hitters stepping up and the bullpen locking it down.

MR: Someone get Steve Bartman on the horn, pronto!

JT: I do not want the Marlins perfect playoff record besmirched. You got here, take it all.

GB: I once dressed up as Steve Bartman for Halloween. I’ve sung Go Cubs Go at Wrigley. If any non-Cubs fan would root for them, it’s me. And I can’t bring myself to do it. Bring on Cardboard Bartman!

CD: I am embracing chaos this postseason, so I think Miami might surprise people. Looking forward to seeing Sixto in the playoffs.

Cardinals at Padres:

Think STL will win: None of us.

Think SDP will win: All of us.

Want STL to win: None of us. Again, see “not monsters” comment above.

Want SDP to win: All of us. We are deeply committed to both Sparkle Motion and Fernando Tatís Jr.

Comments:

MA: Let’s go, NL Mariners!

ES: The Padres losing in the first round would be an affront to good taste. Don’t let it happen, please.

KP: The Padres are fun and haven’t been to the postseason in forever. The Cardinals are no fun and have been in every single postseason since I was born. Also, I still love you, Austin Nola. Go dads!

MR: Rooting for the Cardinals over this Padres team automatically makes you an officer of the law.

TC: San Diego as a city has a purely unflappable vibe. So they aren’t going to care at all about Cardinals Devil Magic. Not on their radar, brah.

GB: I’m not sure what exactly the Cardinals have done to engender such raw bitterness in my mind. Was it their constant winning records? Their insistence about honestly deserving the “Best Fans in Baseball” moniker? Literally hacking into another team’s database? Wait a minute...

Your turn: Who do you think will win...

Poll

Blue Jays or Rays?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    TOR
    (15 votes)
  • 94%
    TBR
    (279 votes)
294 votes total Vote Now

Poll

White Sox or Athletics?

This poll is closed

  • 58%
    CWS
    (163 votes)
  • 41%
    OAK
    (118 votes)
281 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Astros or Twins?

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    HOU (I am a monster)
    (34 votes)
  • 88%
    MIN
    (250 votes)
284 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Cleveland or the Yankees?

This poll is closed

  • 50%
    CLE
    (138 votes)
  • 50%
    NYY
    (138 votes)
276 votes total Vote Now

Oh my gosh there’s a whole other league? This is so many playoff teams, you guys.

Poll

Brewers or Dodgers?

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    MIL
    (32 votes)
  • 88%
    LAD
    (250 votes)
282 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Reds or Braves?

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    CIN
    (102 votes)
  • 63%
    ATL
    (179 votes)
281 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Marlins or Cubs?

This poll is closed

  • 45%
    MIA
    (130 votes)
  • 54%
    CHC
    (153 votes)
283 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Cardinals or Padres?

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    STL
    (33 votes)
  • 88%
    SDP
    (250 votes)
283 votes total Vote Now

...Is that who you want to win? Drop your answers in the comments.