MLB's first-ever wild-card series weekend is in full swing. And three teams were sent packing Saturday.
The playoff field expanded to 12 teams for the 2022 postseason, so four best-of-three series determine which teams move on to the division series.
The Saturday festivities began with theCleveland Guardiansbeating theTampa Bay Rayswith a walk-off homer in the 15th inning to advance to the division series, followed by theSeattle Marinersovercoming a seven-run deficit to send theToronto Blue Jayspacking with a 10-9 win.The Guardians will take on theNew York Yankeesin one ALDS, while the Mariners will face theHouston Astrosin the other.
Meanwhile, the New York Metsforced a Game 3 with a 7-3 win over theSan Diego Padres and the Philadelphia Philliesswept past the Cardinals in St. Louis. Philadelphia will face theAtlanta Bravesin the NLDS while the San Diego-New York winner will take on theLos Angeles Dodgers.
Mariners win series 2-0
Game 2 takeaways
After becoming just the third team to overcome a seven-run deficit in a postseason game, Seattle has taken on the look of a team of destiny, or maybe a Cinderella -- or as close to one as you can get in baseball.
With emerging heroes such as Cal Raleigh coming to the fore, Seattle has become the first club to survive the road-team disadvantage of the new wild-card format. And because it did, the M's now have ensured throngs of fans back in the Pacific Northwest that they will get their first taste in 21 years of firsthand playoff baseball. It's not all magic and fairy tales, to be sure. This team is good. Either way, Seattle is going to be rollicking when the Mariners take on the Astros. This is the kind of team that can capture the imagination of a city ... and a sport. -- Bradford Doolittle
Seattle's not done yet!
The rise of #RallyShoe
Carlos Santana keeps the Mariners in it
The Jays are ROLLING
Teoscar Hernandez on fire in Game 2
Guardians win series 2-0
Game 2 takeaways
Was it great pitching, poor offense -- or a little bit of both? Either way, a lack of runs on the scoreboard was the storyline in Cleveland during a Game 2 that was finally decided whenOscar Gonzalez's walk-off home run in the 15th inningaccounted for the only run of the game -- and completed a two-game wild-card sweep for the Guardians.
Here are a few highlights from ESPN Stats & Information that put in perspective the historic pitching (or lack of hitting) in Game 2:
- The 39 combined strikeouts are the most in a single postseason game
- Tampa Bay's 20 strikeouts were the fourth most by a single team in a postseason game
- First postseason game to go to even the 13th inning without a run scored by either team
- Third 1-0 extra-inning series clincher in postseason history
Next up for the Guardians? An ALDS matchup with the Yankees, which will start Tuesday at Yankee Stadium. One thing Cleveland will hope continues into the next round: Triston McKenzie showcasing that he's turning into one of the better young pitchers in baseball and a worthy No. 2 starter behind ace Shane Bieber. -- Jesse Rogers
The rookie with the walk-off!
And ... we're still scoreless in the 14th inning
Both offenses struggling to get on base
The starters did their jobs
CC in the building
Series tied 1-1
With the season on the line, the Mets got contributions from up and down their roster. Jacob deGrom came through with a strong start, going six innings, allowing five hits and two runs while striking out eight batters. Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso came through with big home runs, Brandon Nimmo, Eduardo Escobar and Jeff McNeil all knocked in additional runs while Edwin Diaz came into the game in the seventh inning to shut down Jurickson Profar and Juan Soto. The well-rounded effort contrasted drastically from a lackluster Game 1 and the Mets will need more in a winner-take-all Game 3 if they hope to advance to the NLDS. -- Joon Lee
And the Mets bust Game 2 open
Trading long balls
Phillies win series 2-0
The Phillies' Game 1 comeback win was as much about what the Cardinals did or didn't do as it was about the Phils. The Saturday close-out win in Game 2 was the blueprint for what a deep Philadelphia playoff will look like. The ace starter goes deep --Aaron Nola in this case, and he was terrific. Jose Alvarado adds a few dominant outs and Rob Thomson pulls the right levers to finish it. The Phillies got a combined 13 scoreless innings over the two games from Nola and Zack Wheeler, just like they would have drawn it up. As for the offense, Bryce Harper got the Phillies on the board with long home run. That, too, is part of any blueprint that sees Philadelphia meeting the massive challenges to come. As for the Cardinals, Albert Pujols finished his career with a two-hit game. But Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado combined to go 1-for-15 in the series. If we're talking blueprints, that's not what the Cardinals had in mind. -- Bradford Doolittle