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#pounditSaturday, August 8, 2020

5 MLB teams that can dominate a shortened season

Justin Verlander

How will a shortened season work for every MLB team? With only 60 games, one hot streak could push an unlikely team into the playoffs, while a cold streak could prove fatal to someone’s playoff hopes. No team is really truly built for this, but some might be more well-equipped than others to handle the situation.

Here are five MLB teams that could really put up a lot of wins in a shortened 60-game season.

5. Oakland Athletics

You may be surprised, but few teams have been able to go on regular hot streaks more than the Athletics when they get going. For the final two months of the 2019 season, the A’s went 35-17 for a .673 win percentage — on par with the Dodgers over the same period. Oakland has consistently had good power and good pitching, a potent combination during regular season play. While this hasn’t really paid off in the playoffs, it means this is a team that could quickly get in a groove and win a surprising amount of games.

Max Scherzer

4. Washington Nationals

The Nationals could go both ways here — remember, they started 19-31 last season before going on to win the World Series. They obviously can’t afford a start like that again, but they’ve also shown that they are capable of getting incredibly hot. Washington’s rotation (Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin, Anibal Sanchez) is going to be incredibly tough to contend with, and will be able to put together a lot of long winning streaks if they pitch to their capability. Add in a lack of long-season fatigue, and the Nationals might just keep opposing offenses from doing any damage to them.

Giancarlo Stanton

3. New York Yankees

The Yankees have had a lot of injury problems in recent seasons, and they already started to have some issues in that regard this year. However, if they get healthy before a restart, the shorter season and less wear and tear could help their stars stay on the field. When the stars do stay on the field, few teams have more talent than the Yankees. Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are potent offensively, and the pitching seems to be on track to be better. They could win a lot of games very quickly.

2. Houston Astros

Awkward as it may be, the Astros are still very poised to storm the league in 2020. There is no shortage of elite hitters in the lineup, and the one-two punch of Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke should ensure that the team has a chance pitching-wise in most games. They’ll need the rest of the rotation to perform, but the Astros have been consistently dominant over the last few seasons. Their talent is still there, and they’ll feel they have something to prove.

Walker Buehler

1. Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers were basically made for a season like this. They have a great offense and defense and depth in spades. They can lean on younger pitchers without having to worry about them getting worn down over the season, so expect the likes of Walker Buehler and Julio Urias to play big roles. We’ll also get to see Mookie Betts at Dodger Stadium after all to go with a potent lineup. The Dodgers have fallen just short of titles in two of the last three seasons, and this format may actually help them if they can gel quickly and settle in together.

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