AL West Showdown Summary and Strategy – MLB The Show 20


Entry Cost

1,000 stubs

General Strategy

I will repeat this throughout (sorry!), but pay attention to pitching handedness. I have noted all handedness for each relevant mission. You will want to adjust your lineup.

Focus on hitters over pitchers. Throughout you will only need 1 starting pitcher and 1 relief pitcher. I typically pick up at least one, if not both, during the initial draft; but this is not a “hard and fast” rule.

The final boss is Justin Verlander who is right-handed. This would suggest you should prioritize left-handed hitters over right-handed. You will still need to face left-handed pitchers during the showdown (Heaney, Manaea), but beating Verlander is the prize.

For each boss mission (4th, 8th, and 12th) you will not need to play defense. So feel free to ignore position and stack the best hitters possible.

There are a number of missions where you pitch against left-handed hitters, or left-handed heavy lineups. I would use this as a tiebreaker when choosing between pitchers (i.e., select a left-handed pitcher if the right-handed option is not significantly better)

Player Targets

Players can definitely be person-dependent. In other words, some people player better with certain cards than others. That said, these are the players I go after in the AL West Showdown (emphasis on those who appear in initial draft):

Matt Olson (Gold): Power!
Yordan Alvarez (Gold): 4 HRs in first 4 at bats. Auto-draft for me.
Joey Gallo (Gold): I’m not as good with Gallo as many people
Shohei Ohtani (Gold): Pitcher and hitter can come in handy
Kyle Seager (Silver): Staple at third base for my Diamond Dynasty team until I upgraded to Rendon. Love this card.
Mark Canha (Silver): You won’t be disappointed
Danny Santana (Silver): Love his eligibility
Willie Calhoun (Bronze): I have found his card plays up by a good bit. I always feel confident when he is at bat.

Perks

I always ignore pitching perks, since my focus is primarily on the elimination missions.

My favorite perks are Heart Attack (contact boost when losing) and Inner Peace (contact boost on pitches down the middle). Off the Radar and Defilibrator are nice ones to pick up as well.

Missions Breakdown

1st Mission | Veteran

Situation

Andrew Heaney was a strikeout machine in 2019, positing 11.14 K/9. In the first three innings of a game against Heaney, hit one homre run, score three runs, and do not strike out more than three times.

Duration 3 innings
Goals Score 3 runs
Hit 1 home run
Don’t strike out 4 times
Showdown Runs Awarded 1 run
Showdown Draft Picks 1 Silver Live Series AL West player
1 silver perk
Other Rewards 100 stubs
300 experience points

Strategy: You start off with the top of your lineup, so feel free to stack those righties to go against the left-handed Heaney. I also found Heaney’s control to be less than perfect: by the time I won the mission, Heaney had almost as many balls as strikes. So, stay patient and look for your pitch. My favorite pitches were breaking balls that caught the bottom of the strike zone (of course, I have a tendency to always pull my PCI down; your mileage may vary).

2nd Mission | All-Star

Situation

Joey Gallo put it all together in a shortened 2019, smacking 22 home runs with a .986 OPS in 70 games. Facing Gallo with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the 9th and the score 7-6, strike him out for the win.

Duration 1 batter
Goals Strike out Gallo
Showdown Runs Awarded 1 run
Showdown Draft Picks 1 Silver Live Series AL West player
1 silver perk
Other Rewards 100 stubs
300 experience points

Strategy: Don’t throw him offspeed pitches? Has not worked for me, but your pitcher or pitching may be better. Have had success with high heat (mostly inside), but haven’t gotten him to strike out on it yet.

3rd Mission | Veteran

Situation

In a rough 2019, the Mariners saw some bright spots, including the bounce back of Kyle Seager and the full-time arrival of Daniel Vogelbach. With your ace facing the heart of the Mariners order in the bottom of the 9th, finish off the 1-0 shutout

Duration 3 innings
Goals Record 1 strikeout
Win the game
Showdown Runs Awarded 2 runs
Showdown Draft Picks 1 Silver Live Series AL West player
1 silver perk
Other Rewards 100 stubs
300 experience points

Strategy: Don’t throw him offspeed pitches? Has not worked for me, but your pitcher or pitching may be better. Have had success with high heat (mostly inside), but haven’t gotten him to strike out on it yet.

In this one, you will be using your closer. You may consider switching out your closer for your best left-handed pitcher if the difference is not too drastic.

4th Mission | Veteran (Elimination Round)

Situation

Down 3-0 with 12 outs, take on Athletics closer Liam Hendriks in this Elimination Showdown. In 2019, Hendriks had a career season, posting a 1.80 ERA and 124 strikeouts in 85 IP.

Duration 12 outs
Goals Win the game
Showdown Runs Awarded 0 runs
Showdown Draft Picks 1 Gold Live Series AL West player
1 gold perk
Other Rewards 1 Silver Player Pack
500 stubs
2,000 experience points

Strategy

Hendriks didn’t show any fatigue during my experiences, though I had early success against him the times I have played. Hendricks is a right-handed pitcher, so you look for any platoon advantages (i.e., hitters good against RHP). I would re-order my lineup to emphasize these players at the top.

Pay attention to who you have on your bench as well. You will want to make sure you have at least one good hitter against RHP. Though depending on your success so far in the first three missions, this could be looking for best of the mediocre.

It’s always a good idea to make sure your bench has at least one speedster in case a pinch runner is warranted.

5th Mission | Veteran

Situation

In a limited 2019 season, Sean Manaea dominated for the A’s, posting a 1.21 ERA in five September starts. trailing Manaea and the A’s 3-0 in the 7th inning, make the comeback by scoring four runs with two extra base hits, while not allowing a run

Duration Until the game ends
Goals Tally two extra-base hits
Score 4 runs
Do not allow a run
Showdown Runs Awarded 1 runs
Showdown Draft Picks 1 Silver Live Series AL West player
1 silver perk
Other Rewards 100 stubs
300 experience points

Strategy

Sean Manaea is a left-handed pitcher, so stack up your right-handed hitters towards the top of your lineup.

On the pitching side, the Athletics have a few good hitters. In particular, Matt Olson and Khris Davis can both quickly end this mission with a home run (Olson got me both times!).

6th Mission | Veteran

Situation

Zack Greinke added another impressive year to his resume in 2019, posting a 2.93 ERA and 3.22 FIP. With Greinke going for a 2-0 shutout in the 9th, make a comeback and walk-off against the former Cy Young winner.

Duration Until the game ends
Goals Defeat the Astros
Showdown Runs Awarded 2 runs
Showdown Draft Picks 1 Silver Live Series AL West player
1 gold perk
Other Rewards 100 stubs
300 experience points

Strategy

Zack Greinke is a right-handed pitcher, so look for those high contact/power against righties.

7th Mission | Veteran

Situation

Mike Trout did more Mike Trout things in 2019, collecting his third career MVP and seventh Silver Slugger. Facing Mike Trout and the heart of the Angels lineup with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th of a 3-0 game, secure the win.

Duration Until the game ends
Goals Win the game
Showdown Runs Awarded 2 runs
Showdown Draft Picks 1 Gold Live Series AL West player
1 gold perk
Other Rewards 100 stubs
300 experience points

Strategy

Don’t give Trout a meatball down the middle of the plate. It ends badly for you (er, me, and badly meant grand slam).

8th Mission | Veteran (Elimination Mission)

Situation

Down 3-0 with 10 outs, take on Angels ace Shohei Ohtani in this Elimination Showdown. The Two-way phenom broke into the majors in 2018, winning the Rookie of the Year, posting a 3.31 ERA and hitting 22 home runs.

Duration 10 outs
Goals Win the game
Showdown Runs Awarded 0 runs
Showdown Draft Picks 1 Diamond AL West Player
1 diamond perk
Other Rewards The Show Pack
500 stubs
3,000 experience points

Strategy

Shohei Ohtani is a right-handed pitcher. If you have read this far, you know what that means.

The times I have faced Ohtani, his control is not always there. I found that you can work counts against him. This means one of two things: free baserunners (walks) or advantageous counts, which can lead to high-quality (from the hitter’s perspective) pitches to hit.

9th Mission | Veteran

Situation

The Astros possessed one of the strongest offenses in 2019, with the highest BA, OPS, and lowest K%. With a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the 8th, shut down the Astros in the final two innings for the win

Duration Until the game ends
Goals Win the game
Showdown Runs Awarded 2 runs
Showdown Draft Picks 1 Gold Live Series AL West player
1 gold perk
Other Rewards 100 stubs
300 experience points

Strategy

On the pitching side, you’re facing three of the better hitters in the game. I have had success here: avoid throwing fastball down the middle, and mix in offspeed pitches. I know that’s not rocket science, but I did not adjust my pitching approach at all.

On the offensive side, you start with the 6th spot in your order against RHP Joe Smith. You may consider re-arranging your lineup in order to guarantee you have access to your best hitters in order to potentially provide extra cushion for the 3 run lead.

10th Mission | Veteran

Situation

Lance Lynn had a career year in 219, posting a 3.13 FIP with 246 strikeouts in 208.1 IP. Tally two extra base hits and three runs in the first two innings of a game against Lynn./blockquote>

Duration Two innings
Goals Tally two extra base hits
Score three runs
Showdown Runs Awarded 2 runs
Showdown Draft Picks 1 Diamond AL West player
1 diamond perk
Other Rewards 100 stubs
300 experience points

Strategy

Lance Lynn is a right-handed pitcher. You know what that means by now.

11th Mission | Veteran

Situation

A team of top players in the AL West has formed. Playing against these top players, enter a game in the top of the 8th inning with the score 0-0 and come away with the victory.

Duration Until the game ends
Goals Win the game
Showdown Runs Awarded 2 runs
Showdown Draft Picks 1 Diamond AL West player
1 diamond perk
Other Rewards 100 stubs
300 experience points

Strategy

On the hitting side, you will start off facing Corey Kluber, followed by a combination of Joe Smith and Liam Hendriks. Good or bad, they are all right-handers, so you can plan accordingly when constructing your lineup.

On the pitching side, you’re facing quite the lineup. Quality ranges from Mike Trout to Tom Murphy.

12th Mission | All-Star

Situation

Down 15-0 with 20 outs, take on the Astros ace Justin Verlander in this Final Showdown. In 2019, Verlander locked up his second career Cy Youn award by posting a 2.58 ERA and a career high 300 strikeouts.

Duration 20 outs
Goals Win the game
Showdown Runs Awarded 0 runs
Showdown Draft Picks None (last mission)
Other Rewards 5x AL West Team Affinity Vouchers
1,000 stubs
5,000 experience points

Strategy

On the hitting side, you will start off facing Corey Kluber, followed by a combination of Joe Smith and Liam Hendriks. Good or bad, they are all right-handers, so you can plan accordingly when constructing your lineup.

On the pitching side, you’re facing quite the lineup. Quality ranges from Mike Trout to Tom Murphy.

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