American League Division Series
[MLB.com] Cole gets ‘nastier’ and Yanks slam 4 homers - Gerrit Cole reached back for his first triple-digit radar-gun reading of the year, a 100.1 mph heater that killed a bases-loaded rally in the fifth inning on Monday. The ace right-hander danced off the mound, unleashing a primal scream that could be heard six stories above the playing field at Petco Park. It was the type of moment Cole envisioned when he committed for nine seasons in a Yankees uniform, and he expects that there will be more like it to savor this month. Supported by four homers, Cole struck out eight over six strong innings in the Yankees’ 9-3 victory over the Rays, grabbing the opener of the American League Division Series.
[ESPN] MLB playoffs 2020: Takeaways from Monday’s ALDS matchups - [Carlos] Correa homered twice Monday in the Astros’ Game 1 win over an A’s team that beat them 70% of the time during the regular season, backing a four-hit game from George Springer and an impressive performance from the team’s collection of young pitchers. Both of Correa’s home runs went out to straightaway center field, totaling 829 feet, on a warm day when the ball was jumping off the bat. Astros manager Dusty Baker noted over the weekend that his team was “not playing our best ball” heading into this ALDS. He was still waiting for his accomplished hitters to get going. In Game 1, Correa, Springer, Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman — the four most reviled baseball players in America — combined for 11 hits and drove in eight runs. That might spell trouble for the rest of the field.
National League Division Series
[MLB.com] Padres, Dodgers bring ‘intensity’ to NLDS - On Tuesday, the Dodgers and Padres will bring their newly revived rivalry to the National League Division Series. They may not display the same level of resentment as the Astros and A’s, or publicly admit to open hostility like the Yankees and Rays, but make no mistake: The Dodgers and Padres don’t seem to like each other, and it’s shaping up so that these two NL West teams could play a lot more meaningful games in the coming years. “I feel like we just get the best out of each other,” Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. said Monday. “They’re a great ballclub. We’re a great ballclub. So, I feel like we’re just going to go out there and show who’s the best this year.”
[MLB.com] Marlins driven by ‘bottom feeder’ label - They started off being called “bottom feeders,” and now the Marlins are here. After losing 105 games in 2019, Miami on Tuesday will open its best-of-five National League Division Series against the Braves at Minute Maid Park in Houston. Considering the adversity that the club has faced the past few seasons, the 2020 Marlins are using every bit of bulletin board material they can find as motivation. They’ve continued to wear “Bottom Feeders” T-shirts. The label was bestowed upon them in the first series of the season in Philadelphia. NBC Sports Philadelphia analyst Ricky Bottalico, a former pitcher, said that in order for the Phillies to reach the postseason, they’ll have to beat the “bottom feeders.”
Around the League
[MLB Trade Rumors] Class Action Status Approved In Minimum Wage Case Against MLB - Minor league ballplayers received a big win today when they were granted class action status in their suit against Major League Baseball, per J.J. Cooper of Baseball America. The Supreme Court ruling on Monday denied MLB’s appeal to a previous ruling that granted class action status to a group of 29 players currently suing Major League Baseball for violation of minimum wage laws. Were MLB’s appeal granted, players would have had to individually bring their cases against MLB. For these players, most of whom were never able to reap the benefits of a full-scale major league salary, individual lawsuits simply wouldn’t be financially viable – certainly not against a financial giant like Major League Baseball. Instead, the floodgates are open and we can expect a great number of players to join those currently named in the suit. Cooper suggests the number of parties could grow to include potentially every minor league player that participated in the system since February 7, 2009. Said Cooper, “It potentially includes almost every affiliated minor league baseball player of the past decade. With more than 6,000 players participating in minor league baseball in a normal year, the number of eligible players could be measured in tens of thousands.”
[Forbes] MLB Sees Local TV And Streaming Viewership Up Over 4% For 2020 - In a season unlike any other, Major League Baseball saw viewership increase while ratings were down because of a lower number of households being tracked. This is how, in an upside-down season, comparing sports viewership numbers from last year with 2020 is not apples-to-apples. It’s more like apples to apple cider with orange zest. This year, Nielsen moved to track viewers not just at home but also digitally. This provides a window into true viewership, something that’s been missing for some time as mobile via over-the-top (OTT) has become a large part of the equation. The problem is, not all of MLB’s regional sports networks are part of the paid service now provided by Nielsen. Currently, only 25 RSN MLB teams play their home games in Nielsen Local People Meter markets where demographic audience information is available daily and play on an RSN that pays for Nielsen’s NSI service in that market.