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MLB Playoff Pairings Set; Three Tar Heels Still Alive

The MLB Playoffs begin on Tuesday for the American League and Wednesday for the National League.

Following the conclusion of the regular season on Sunday, the 2020 MLB playoff pairings are set and will start on Tuesday.

National League
(1) Dodgers vs. (8) Brewers
(2) Braves vs. (7) Reds
(3) Cubs vs. (6) Marlins
(4) Padres vs. (5) Cardinals

American League
(1) Rays vs. (8) Blue Jays
(2) Athletics vs. (7) White Sox
(3) Twins vs. (6) Astros
(4) Indians vs. (5) Yankees

The four American League series will start on Tuesday, with the National League beginning play on Wednesday.

Times for the first two games of each AL series and the first game of each NL series have been posted. They are as follows (all times ET):

Tuesday, September 29

• AL Wild Card Series Game 1, Astros at Twins, 2 p.m. (ABC)
• AL Wild Card Series Game 1, White Sox at A's, 3 p.m. (ESPN)
• AL Wild Card Series Game 1, Blue Jays at Rays, 5 p.m. (TBS)
• AL Wild Card Series Game 1, Yankees at Indians, 7 p.m. (ESPN)

Wednesday, Sept. 30
• NL Wild Card Series Game 1, Reds at Braves, 12 p.m. (ESPN)
• AL Wild Card Series Game 2, Astros at Twins, 1 p.m. (ESPN2)
• NL Wild Card Series Game 1, Marlins at Cubs, 2 p.m. (ABC)
• AL Wild Card Series Game 2, White Sox at A's, 3 p.m. (ESPN)
• AL Wild Card Series Game 2, Blue Jays at Rays, 4 p.m. (TBS)
• NL Wild Card Series Game 1, Cardinals at Padres, 5 p.m. (ESPN2)
• AL Wild Card Series Game 2, Yankees at Indians, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
• NL Wild Card Series Game 1, Brewers at Dodgers, 10 p.m. (ESPN)

With the expansion to 16 playoff teams for the 2020 playoffs, there will be four total rounds. Here is how things will play out:

  • Wild Card Series (two-out-of-three)
  • Divisional Series (three-out-of-five)
  • League Championship Series (four-out-of-seven)
  • World Series (four-out-of-seven)

The Wild Card games will take place at the home field of the higher-ranked team, while the following three rounds will each happen at a neutral site.

Because of the shorter Wild Card series, the lack of travel usually associated with the postseason, and the desire to finish the season prior to November, there will be no breaks in the first three rounds of the playoffs. There will, however, be days off in between series and the World Series will feature days off after Game 2 and after Game 5 (if necessary).

Tar Heels in the MLB Playoffs

Three Tar Heels have advanced to play in the postseason; and of those only one is healthy enough to participate.

Brian Goodwin (Reds)

Goodwin has been with the Reds since being traded by the Angels on August 31. He has struggled since moving to Cincinnati, hitting just .163 (8-for-49). After hitting .242 for the Angels, Goodwin's season average is down to .215 (31-for-144). He will likely not start in Game 1 against the Braves since Max Fried is a lefty (just like Goodwin) and Reds manager David Bell typically varies his line-up to avoid lefty-lefty match-ups. 

Andrew Miller (Cardinals)

Despite their early-season issues with COVID-19 cancellations, the Cardinals did just enough to get into the playoffs where they will face the potent Padres line-up. UNC alum Andrew Miller has returned to the form we saw several years ago when he was a staple for the Indians bullpen. Here’s Miller’s 2020 regular season stat line:

  • 16 appearances, 13 IP, 1-1 W-L, 2.77 ERA, .191 AVG, 1.08 WHIP, 4-5 SV, 9 H, 4 R, 0 HR, 5 BB, 16 SO

Trent Thornton (Blue Jays)

The other Tar Heel technically in the playoffs is Trent Thornton of the Blue Jays. The Blue Jays are the eight seed and will take on the Rays in Tampa. Unfortunately, Thornton is on the IL and won’t be able to participate.

For the rest of the Tar Heels in MLB, their season is over. Stay tuned for a season recap coming later this week.

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