How about the ones Mariners? (Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
With 3 sequence already down and one headed for a do-or-die Game 3 on Sunday night time, suffice it to mention that the wild-card spherical of the 2022 Major League Baseball playoffs has been, neatly, wild.
Since we all know an entire lot greater than we did earlier than the primary spherical of the postseason started Friday, it is time to have a look at some key takeaways.
We have two each and every for the 3 sequence that led to two-game sweeps Saturday, with two extra nonetheless to come back after the San Diego Padres and New York Mets make a decision their affair at Citi Field later Sunday. These worry all method of tendencies, ranging from the not-at-all sudden to the very sudden.
Cleveland Guardians defeat Tampa Bay Rays
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Game 1: Guardians 2, Rays 1
Game 2: Guardians 1, Rays 0 (15)
The Guardians Pitching Is a Problem for Others
To permit only one run in two video games constitutes a just right couple of days on the place of job for any pitching workforce. Over 24 overall innings? Even higher.
The lion’s percentage of the credit score is going to Guardians aces Shane Bieber and Triston McKenzie, who unquestionably resembled the ace duo who submit a 2.92 ERA within the steady season. Bieber set ’em up with 7.2 innings of one-run ball in Game 1, and McKenzie knocked ’em down with six shutout innings in Game 2.
Shane Bieber and Triston McKenzie had been dominant of their AL Wild Card Series begins for the %.twitter.com/79SxXqqLl1
The bullpen? How about 10.1 innings and only four hits with 13 strikeouts. Cutter maestro Emmanuel Clase was especially mean to Rays hitters, retiring all seven he faced.
Guardians hurlers had been just right all 12 months, however particularly so in the second one part as they ripped off a 2.99 ERA and the second-most fWAR in MLB. If the wild-card sequence is any indication, they are now not essentially completed with this act simply for the reason that steady season is over.
The Guardians Offense Is a Problem for Them
It would have taken a minimum of two runs for the Guardians to win this series. That they barely beat that mark while going just 13-for-76 with two extra-base hits is cause for alarm.
Granted, Cleveland made those two extra-base hits count. José Ramírez’s two-run shot in the sixth inning of Game 1 proved to be a game-winner, while Óscar González’s solo blast in the 15th inning of Game 2 was literally a game-winner.
OSCAR GONZALEZ WALK-OFF HOMER IN THE 15th! %.twitter.com/bVpy55LKXz
All the similar, the Guardians did not upward thrust above and even to the extent in their regular-season offense, which slightly scored at the next fee than the MLB reasonable.
Against a Rays workforce that scored underneath the league reasonable, you’ll break out with that. But now not such a lot in opposition to who is subsequent. Awaiting the Guardians within the American League Division Series are Aaron Judge and the New York Yankees, who led the AL with 807 runs and all of MLB with 254 house runs.
Philadelphia Phillies defeat St. Louis Cardinals
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Game 1: Phillies 6, Cardinals 3
Game 2: Phillies 2, Cardinals 0
Nobody Should Want to Face Wheeler and Nola
Even because the Phillies went from sitting lovely within the National League wild-card race to combating for his or her playoff lives amid a 7-13 stretch to complete the steady season, there have been no less than two explanation why they might pose a danger within the postseason: Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola.
Sure sufficient, they took on a Cardinals offense that led the majors in house runs after the All-Star ruin and rendered it helpless. Wheeler tossed 6.1 shutout innings in Game 1, whilst Nola did him one out higher in notching 6.2 shutout innings in Game 2.
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Ho-hum? Ho-hum, certainly. As their dominant efforts within the wild-card sequence got here at the heels of a blended 3.07 ERA and a 6.3 strikeout-to-walk ratio within the steady season, Wheeler and Nola had been doing this all 12 months.
On this entrance, no less than, Atlanta must imagine itself warned because it awaits the Phillies within the department sequence.
The Cardinals Were Let Down via Their Biggest Strengths
If Cardinals lovers are feeling a bit dazed and puzzled following their workforce’s death by the hands of the Phillies, let’s simply say the “confused” phase is comprehensible.
Of the entire techniques the NL Central champions will have misplaced a playoff sequence, it might had been exhausting to fathom it involving MVP applicants Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado each going ice-cold on the identical time:
Or, for that subject, All-Star right-hander Ryan Helsley being liable for beginning the ninth-inning cave in that doomed the Cardinals in Game 1. Or that the opposite majorly accountable birthday celebration will be the workforce’s infield protection, which had with ease led MLB in outs above reasonable all over the steady season.
That’s a brutal way to lose any series, much less one that marked the end of the line for franchise legends Albert Pujols, Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright.
Seattle Mariners defeat Toronto Blue Jays
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Game 1: Mariners 4, Blue Jays 0
Game 2: Mariners 10, Blue Jays 9
The Mariners Played Like They’ve Been Here Before
There are instances when a man has to confess when he was once mistaken. Case in level, this man in expressing doubt concerning the Mariners “final composed in entrance of fifty,000 or so Torontonians on the Rogers Centre.”
The wild-card series may have marked Seattle’s first trip to the playoffs in 21 years, but you’d never know it from how they came out and landed a staggering blow early in Game 1 and then pulled off best the 3rd seven-run comeback in postseason historical past in Game 2.
Did the Mariners punch too some distance above their weight in taking Toronto to activity? Maybe in case you are judging them via their over 90-72 report within the steady season, however let’s now not forget that they’d a run between June 21 and Sept. 4 by which they went 47-19.
It seems that wasn’t a one-off of them playing like their best selves, in which case even the 106-win Houston Astros are going to have their hands full with the Mariners in the division series.
The Blue Jays Need to Learn to Walk the Walk
At no point in 2022 were the Blue Jays lacking in confidence.
Before the season, slugging first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. famously referred to the workforce’s 91-71 effort in 2021 as “a trailer” for “the film” that would come in 2022. And the day before he was set to take the ball for Game 1 against the Mariners, breakout right-hander Alek Manoah shrugged off a question about pressure:
These, too, are takes that aren’t looking so great right now. Manoah got knocked around for four runs over 5.2 innings in Game 1, while Guerrero went just 1-for-8 in the series.
To be fair, it’s not for nothing that the Blue Jays at least made the playoffs this year after missing out in 2021. It’s nonetheless fair to say that they’ve been better at generating hype than they have been at living up to it over the last two seasons.
Come 2023, they might want to work on that.
Stats courtesy of Baseball Reference, FanGraphs and Baseball Savant.