Trio of Bruins to Compete in 2020 MLB Playoffs
A trio of UCLA baseball alumni – right-handed pitchers Trevor Bauer (Cincinnati Reds), Gerrit Cole (New York Yankees), and Adam Plutko (Cleveland Indians) – are set to compete for Major League's Baseball top prize as the 2020 MLB Postseason commences on Tuesday.
In addition to the trio of righties, former UCLA standout Dave Roberts managed the Los Angeles Dodgers to the postseason with a 43-17 record, recording the top winning percentage (.717) in MLB and finishing as one of just two teams to hit the 40-win plateau (Tampa Bay).
Bauer was arguably the top pitcher in the National League this season, his first full campaign with the Reds. The 2011 Golden Spikes Award Winner posted the NL's best ERA (1.73) and led the league in shutouts (2), complete games (2), WHIP (0.80), hits allowed per nine innings (5.1), and ERA+ (276). He also ranked among the league leaders in strikeouts (100, second) and innings (73, sixth).
Considered one of the favorites for the NL Cy Young Award, his adjusted ERA is the fifth-highest by any pitcher all-time and third-highest since 2000, trailing only Pedro Martinez (291, 2000) and Shane Bieber (281, 2020).
The No. 7 seed and top wild card in the NL, the Reds open their three-game Wild Card series on Wednesday in Atlanta at 9:00 a.m. PT (TV: ESPN). Bauer is projected to start game one in the set against the Braves.
One of the American League's top pitchers for three years running, Cole had another strong season in 2020. In his first year with the Yankees after signing a record nine-year, $324 million pact last offseason, Cole went 7-3 with a 2.84 ERA and 94 strikeouts in 73 innings. The league leader in complete games (2) and shutouts (1), he finished the season inside the AL's top-10 in wins (second), strikeouts (third), WHIP (0.96, fourth), and ERA (sixth).
Cole is also set to start in game one of the Wild Card round for his club, as the Yankees face Plutko and the Indians in Cleveland starting on Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. PT (TV: ESPN).
Plutko went 2-2 with a 4.88 ERA as a swingman with Cleveland. After making the start in four of his first five outings this year, he appeared out of the bullpen five consecutive times to close out the season, including a four-inning save on Aug. 28. He allowed one earned run or fewer in all but one of his appearances in 2020.
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Wild Card Series Schedule (UCLA alumni)
Best-of-three (Italics below indicate "if necessary")
All times PT
All Games to be televised on ESPN family of networks
Tuesday, Sept. 29
• AL Wild Card Series Game 1, Yankees at Indians, 4 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 30
• NL Wild Card Series Game 1, Reds at Braves, 9 a.m.
• AL Wild Card Series Game 2, Yankees at Indians, 4 p.m.
• NL Wild Card Series Game 1, Brewers at Dodgers, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 1
• AL Wild Card Series Game 3, Yankees at Indians, TBD
• NL Wild Card Series Game 2, Brewers at Dodgers, TBD
• NL Wild Card Series Game 2, Reds at Braves, TBD
Friday, Oct. 2
• NL Wild Card Series Game 3, Brewers at Dodgers, TBD
• NL Wild Card Series Game 3, Reds at Braves, TBD