Previewing and Predicting 2020 NLDS Matchups

2020 NLDS

San Diego Padres vs Los Angeles Dodgers

Much like the American League the 2020 NLDS features two series with division rivals facing off. The San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers, two National League West rivals, will square off against one another in the National League Division Series. Although the “Battle of Southern California” will determine which team advances to the NL Championship Series, the Padres and the Dodgers are the best two in the National League. The Padres won the right to face the Dodgers by coming back to win their first-round series with the St. Louis Cardinals, while the Dodgers moved on after sweeping the Milwaukee Brewers. This could be the most exciting matchup in either the NL or the AL Division Series round.

San Diego is an exciting, young team that exudes confidence. The Padres have great talent like Fernando Tatis Jr. Trent Grisham, Manny Machado, and Jake Cronenworth and are only going to get better. There is also depth on the bench for the Padres, so expect them to match up often. As for Los Angeles, the Dodgers have been in the playoffs for the last several seasons and know what comes in this type of atmosphere. However, they are not only experienced, but they also are deep with a wealth of talent. That gives manager Dave Roberts many options.

Keys To Series

Pitching will be key and each team has an advantage in different parts of their staffs. The Dodgers clearly have the better rotation, with Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler leading them. But the Padres bullpen–headed by Luis Patino, Drew Pomeranz, and Trevor Rosenthal–holds the advantage over their blue rivals. While the San Diego offense is good, Los Angeles is better. 

Season Series: Los Angeles 6-4

Prediction: Los Angeles in five games

Atlanta Braves vs Miami Marlins

The Miami Marlins play the Atlanta Braves in another Division Series matchup with two teams from the same division. The Marlins were expected to be bottom feeders this season, but in this crazy and truncated season, Miami reached the playoffs then swept their Wild Card round series against the Chicago Cubs. Atlanta’s strong offense was held mostly in check by the strong-pitching Cincinnati Reds in the first round, but the Braves got enough timely hits (and home runs) to sweep.

Atlanta’s pitching stepped up in a big way and frustrated a Cincinnati offense that had been red hot the last two weeks of the regular season. The Braves got stellar starts from Max Fried and Ian Anderson and their strong bullpen helped finish off the Reds. The key for Miami in its series with Chicago was the great starting pitching and an experienced bullpen. During the regular season, the Marlins had relied on timely hitting and defense, which were the same ingredients in their sweep of the Cubs. Miami is talented with such players in the rotation as Sixto Sanchez and Sandy Alcantara in their rotation and Starling Marte and Brian Anderson in the lineup.

Keys To Series

These two teams are reasonably evenly matched. The high-powered Atlanta offense led by Marcell Ozuna and Freddie Freeman must face a Marlins’ rotation has been Miami’s strength. How well Miami pitching can contain Atlanta hitting is likely to be the biggest factor in this series. But whether the Marlins can keep up their timely hitting against Atlanta’s rotation will be important too. 

Season series: Atlanta 6-4

Prediction: Atlanta in four games

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