It’s October, which means postseason baseball is well underway. However, if you’re a Boston sports fan, there’s a high chance you have decided to ignore the playoffs, as you’re still recovering from a depressive slumber after having to suffer through the Red Sox’s woeful second half. If you haven’t tuned in so far, but are looking to catch some of the postseason action before it’s too late, here’s a recap of the Wild Card round, and a look at the matchups ahead.
AL WILD CARD: GUARDIANS SWEEP RAYS
Two teams that were in the strange middle area of playoff contenders this year were Tampa and Cleveland, who both could be considered “sneaky good.” Each team is looking to get back to the World Series peak after a recent loss. The Rays dropped the 2020 World Series in 6 games, and the Guardians famously lost in 2016 to a starving Chicago Cubs team.
Each game was an absolute nail biter, however the Guardians were able to come away with the sweep after taking the first game 2-1 and then hitting a historic walk-off home run in the bottom of the 15th inning to win a 1-0 pitchers duel and secure the sweep. Their pitching staff will face a challenge in the star-power slugging Yankees, geared entirely differently than the small-ball team effort approach that the Rays brought to the table.
AL WILD CARD: MARINERS SWEEP BLUE JAYS
The longest active playoff drought in sports is over. For the first time since they set the AL wins record in 2001, the Seattle Mariners have made the playoffs. Not only that, they swept the surging Blue Jays, who have been yearning to bring the hardware back up north for many years now. However, the Mariners, the only MLB team left without a World Series appearance, wanted it more. They even came back from a crushing 8-1 deficit to finish the sweep in front of a stunned Canadian crowd.
NL WILD CARD: PHILLIES SWEEP CARDINALS
The devil magic has run out, and the curtain has officially closed on Yadi and Albert’s hall-of-fame careers. The Cardinals, poised to be an NL sleeper, fell flat on their faces as the presumptive NL MVP, Paul Goldschmidt, went hitless. Nobody else in the lineup could recoup the losses, and St. Louis put up only three runs while the Phillies ran away with the series. Philadelphia pitching put up a total of 15 strikeouts across both games.
NL WILD CARD: PADRES BEAT METS 2-1
Their first time on the big stage since 2016, New York’s little brother team was poised to make a push. However, the baseball gods decreed that no lineup can guarantee success for the team. “The Mets are gonna Met.” Despite the series running three games, the Mets were blown out in their two losses, putting up a run differential of -12 in those games.
San Diego was a team that drew some criticism all year, but with a decisive defeat of a team that looked like serious contenders, they’ve likely silenced those doubters.
ALDS: YANKEES VS. GUARDIANS
Now’s the time for Cleveland to prove that people were selling them short all year long. For the Yankees, they need to see some production out of Aaron Judge, who is hitless in eight AB’s so far. While the series has rolled on, the gap between the two teams has not changed. Josh Naylor’s clutch homerun off of Yankee ace Gerrit Cole knotted the series up at two games a piece.
ALDS: MARINERS VS. ASTROS
Currently, the Astros are ahead 2-0. This tracks with what most people expected from this matchup, as two divisional foes collide. The Mariners failed to capitalize on a rare flop of an outing from ageless wonder Justin Verlander in game one, which may have helped them dig their own playoff grave and leave them wanting for that elusive World Series appearance. Some heroics in an eighteen-inning dogfight preserved the perfect series for Houston, as they downed the Mariners 3-0.
NLDS: BRAVES VS. PHILLIES
The defending champion Braves are down 2-1, despite having a regular season record of 12-9 against the Phillies this season. The Braves need to see more out of their starting pitching if they want to go the distance and complete the first successful title defense since the Yankees completed the three-peat in 2000. The Phillies managed to win game four by a score of 8-3, and look to be one of the hottest teams moving onto the NLCS.
NLDS: PADRES VS. DODGERS
Another divisional clash, the heavyweight Dodgers are 16-4 against the Padres in their last 20 matchups but sit at 1-1 in this series so far. While the Padres have silenced the critics so far in the postseason, they have some serious trends to buck if they want a chance at the trophy. In a shocking turn of events, San Diego was able to close out the series and advance to the Championship Series 3-1, courtesy of a 5-3 victory in game four.
As it stands right now, the best has yet to come for postseason baseball this year, and fans across the country are waiting on bated breath to see who comes out on top.
(These results are accurate as of 10/14/22)