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MLB playoff schedule, updates: Billy Beane’s A’s look to snap 0-9 skid in winner-take-all postseason games

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The 2020 Major League Baseball postseason rolls on with a five-game schedule on Thursday in the best-of-three Wild Card Series. Heading into the playoffs, it was possible to have eight games for a second-straight day, but the Rays, Yankees and Astros needed just two games to extinguish their foes and advance to the divisional round. There are four NL Game 2s on Thursday along with the deciding Game 3 in Oakland.

Below are the results from Thursday and key takeaways from the day.

Wild Card Series schedule/scores

Can the A’s win an elimination game?

The biggest storyline of the day surely comes from Oakland. Not only is this the only game where both teams have a chance to be eliminated, but there’s the whole Billy Beane-in-an-elimination game factor. No, Beane doesn’t play and he’s had so many different players over the years, it’s more a coincidence than anything else. The thing is, many people love a good narrative. During Beane’s tenure as the head of the A’s front office, his ballclubs have lost six Game 5s in the ALDS round. They won the 2006 ALDS in a sweep before being swept in the ALCS. They’ve also lost three Wild Card Games. That means they are 0-9 in winner-take-all playoff games under Beane. Thursday is a winner-take-all playoff game under Beane. 

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Rebound from historic futility in Atlanta? 

The Reds and Braves set all kinds of records in Game 1, such as not scoring until the 13th inning and combining for 37 strikeouts. We could spin it as great pitching, but there were missed opportunities, notably by the Reds who had 11 hits and zero runs. The Braves have one of the best offenses in the NL while the Reds have several good power hitters and were red-hot down the stretch. Will pitching again carry the day or will the offenses bust out?  

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Marlins looking to go 7 for 7 in franchise history

The Marlins have famously never lost a playoff series. In 1997, they swept the Giants in the NLDS, took down the Braves, 4-2, in the NLCS and then beat the Indians in seven in an epic World Series. In 2003, they beat the Giants in four in the NLDS, topped the Cubs in seven in one of the most famous NLCS of all time and then beat the mighty Yankees in six in the World Series. 

That’s it. Those are their only two playoff teams, before this year. The 31-29 Marlins came from behind to beat the Cubs, 5-1, in Wrigley Field in Game 1 here in 2020, so a win Tuesday runs the franchise record to 7-0 in playoff series. They’ll have to beat Yu Darvish, though it might not take many runs given the state of the Cubs’ offense. 

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Padres look to bounce back

The Padres were one of the best stories in baseball all year and, frankly, beyond that they were simply one of the best teams. They went 37-23, good for the best winning percentage in franchise history. Only their sixth playoff berth, it’s their first since 2006. They came out and were roughed up early in Game 1 against the Cardinals, veterans to the playoffs. Can they shake out any nerves in front of Game 2 or will it be a far-too-early October exit for the home team? 

The biggest mismatch by far on paper heading into the playoffs was the 43-17 Dodgers hosting the 29-31 Brewers, especially with the Brewers missing their best starting pitcher and reliever due to injury. After a 3-0 lead through two innings in Game 1, the Dodgers probably had to sweat more than they wanted to, but a win is a win and they can take care of business behind a resurgent Clayton Kershaw (6-2, 2.16 ERA) in Game 2 with a quick sweep of the sub-.500 Brewers. 


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