Welcome to the MLB Playoffs! J.J. picks pitcher strikeouts in White Sox vs Athletics and Blue Jays vs Rays
Chicago White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito throws at practice during a baseball workout in Oakland, Calif., Monday, Sept. 28, 2020. The White Sox are scheduled to play the Oakland Athletics in an American League wild-card playoff series starting Tuesday.Jeff Chiu | Associated Press

Welcome to the MLB Playoffs! J.J. picks pitcher strikeouts in White Sox vs Athletics and Blue Jays vs Rays

The best of three, first round series kicks off today at 2:00 PM ET, and continues through the night.

It has been a strange and wild baseball season, but we have finally made it to the playoffs. With the expanded postseason field, 16 teams will now be competing for a chance at the Commissioners Trophy. The best of three, first round series kicks off today at 2:00 PM ET, and continues through the night. Pitchers will be as rested as ever for this postseason, and with the new 3 batter minimum rule, it’ll be a storyline to watch to see how managers handle their pitchers. Let’s get into it.

Chicago White Sox @ Oakland Athletics

SP - Lucas Giolito: 97 strikeouts in 72.1 IP

Note: The big righty finished the season 4th in punchouts for the White Sox. Since August, he has topped 100 pitches 8 out of 10 times, as well as recorded at least 7 strikeouts in 8 out of 10. He is facing an Oakland team that is 15th in SO’s as a team and has yet to pitch versus them this season. Look for the White Sox to ride Giolito in their return to the post season. Since his no hitter on 8/25, he has fanned 39 batters in 28.2 IP.

Last Outing: Against Cleveland Indians, 6 IP 11 Strikeouts, 119 pitches.

Prop: Over 6.5 Strikeouts (-157)

Toronto Blue Jays @ Tampa Bay Rays

SP - Matt Shoemaker: 26 K’s in 28.2 IP

Note: In a mild surprise, Blue Jays are deciding to throw ace Hyun-jin Ryu in Game 2 and opt for the righty Shoemaker in Game 1. Shoemaker returned from the IL in his last start after a one-month absence from the team. I am worried about how long he will be in the game for tonight. His season high in pitches is 89 and has not topped 75 since then. If he runs into trouble early on against a solid offense, I believe he will be pulled quickly. Most optimistic part of this line is that he is facing a Tampa Bay team that leads the majors in strikeouts.

Last Outing: Versus New York Yankees, 3 IP 1 Strikeout, 54 pitches

Prop: Under 4.5 Strikeouts (+121)

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