October means MLB Playoff Baseball

First wild card games to take place starting Friday, Seattle Mariners finally in



The Seattle Mariners

JAKE HULL, Evergreen reporter

For the first time in 21 years, the Seattle Mariners will be playing baseball in the postseason. This 2022 season is also the first time the MLB playoffs will be expanded from 10 teams to 12. Both the American League and National League get one extra wild card team who gets to compete in the playoffs. Other changes made to the postseason include having the Wild Card game replaced with a best-of-three Wild Card Series, functioning as the first round of playoffs.

This season, the top two division winners in each league receive a first-round bye, advancing directly to the AL and NL Divisional series. That leaves four teams per league to compete in the Wild Card round.

These four teams per league include the division winner with the worst record and three Wild Card teams. The division winner automatically gets the No. 3 seed and the Wild Card teams are seeded 4-6 depending on their win-loss record.

The Wild Card round is a best-of-three series, the next round is the Divisional Series which is a best-of-five series. The Championship Series is a best-of-seven series, as well as the World Series. In the Wild Card, the higher seed hosts all three games if necessary, in the divisional series, the higher seed hosts three home games if necessary. The Championship Series and World Series have the higher seed host four home games if necessary.

American League:

The American League Wild Card playoffs get underway Friday. The first wild card matchup is the No. 3 seeded Cleveland Guardians hosting the No. 6 Tampa Bay Rays. All games in this series will be played in Cleveland with the first game taking place at 9 a.m. Friday.

On the season, Cleveland is led by Andrés Giménez who has 146 hits with 69 RBIs and 17 home runs for a batting average of .300. José Ramírez leads the Guardians with 29 home runs on the season. The Guardians’ longest win streak this season was seven games. Their longest losing streak was also seven games. They were an average team all season but got hot in September with their seven-game win streak coming in the last two weeks of the season to propel them into the No. 3 spot in the American League. The AL Central was a fairly easy division this season, with the second-best team, the Chicago White Sox only having an 81-81 record.

The Rays are led by Randy Arozarena who has 154 hits. Arozarena has 89 RBIs and 20 home runs on the season. The Rays’ longest winning streak this season was six which happened in August. Their longest losing streak was five. Another fairly average team all season who stayed under the radar en route to their 86-76 record.

The winner of this best-of-three series heads to New York to take on the No. 2 ranked Yankees in a best-of-five series.

The Yankees have Aaron Judge, who has 62 home runs, the most ever in AL history. Judge has 131 RBIs (tied for first in the league) and has a .311 batting average (fifth in the league). Judge has also walked 11 times this season, which is 24 behind San Diego’s Juan Soto. The Yankees Yankees’ longest winning streak this season was 11 wins in April. They also won nine in a row in June to help their record as they slid down the standings rapidly after the MLB All-Star break. Their longest losing streak was five, but after the ALL-Star break, they were consistently average and finished with a record of 99-63.

The other AL Wild Card matchup is the No. 4 Toronto Blue Jays taking on the No. 5 Seattle Mariners. All games will be played in Toronto, Canada with the first game starting 1 p.m. on Friday. The Mariners are led by rookie Julio Rodríguez who should win AL Rookie Of The Year soon. Rodriguez has 28 home runs on the season, 145 hits and 74 RBIs for a batting average of .284. Eugenio Suárez leads the Mariners with 31 home runs and first baseman Ty France leads in hits with 152.

This season, the Mariners’ longest winning streak was 14 games, tying Atlanta for the longest winning streak this season. This winning streak came at the beginning of July and ended with their 14th win in a row coming the game before the All-Star break. After the All-Star break]\/;’8.p21 the Mariners slid, getting swept by the Astros in a sold-out T-Mobile Park. Their longest losing streak of the year came in May when they lost six in a row. However, the 14-game winning streak and seven-game winning streak in late August gave the Mariners their postseason push and they finished with a 90-72 record.

Toronto is led by Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Bichette has 188 hits with 93 RBIs and 24 home runs for a batting average of .289. Guerrero Jr. leads Toronto in home runs with 32 and RBIs with 97. The winner of this series heads to Houston to take on the No. 1 ranked Astros in a best-of-five series.

The Blue Jays’ longest winning streak was eight games in late May and seven games in the middle of July. Their longest losing streak was only five games, meaning they were consistently winning more games than losing all season, and also finished with a 92-70 record.

National League:

The first National League Wild Card matchup is set for 11 a.m. on Friday when the No. 3 ranked St. Louis Cardinals host the No. 6 ranked Philadelphia Phillies.

The Cardinals are led by Paul Goldschmidt. He has 178 hits with 115 RBIs and 35 home runs for a batting average of .317. Goldschmidt is third in the league for batting average and fourth in RBIs. This is also the last season for Albert Pujols, who has 24 home runs on the year to put his lifetime total at 703, good for fourth all-time.

The Cardinals won eight games in a row in late August to propel their record after a slow middle part of the season. They put together a nice final few months of the season and earned a 93-68 record to finish first in the NL Central.

The Phillies are led by Alec Bohm and Kyle Schwarber. Bohm has 164 hits with 72 RBIs and 13 home runs for a batting average of .280. Schwarber has 126 hits with 94 RBIs and 46 home runs for a batting average of .219.

Philadelphia won nine games in a row in early June which helped them when they lost five straight in September. The Phillies never seemed in danger during the season, even though they had the Mets and the Braves in their division, they still finished with an 87-75 record, they are a sleeper team in these playoffs who may surprise you. The winner of this series heads to Atlanta to take on the No. 2 ranked Braves.

The final Wild Card matchup is the No. 5 ranked San Diego Padres versus the No. 4 ranked New York Mets with all three games taking place in New York. Game one is on Friday at 5 p.m.

The Padres are led by Manny Machado and Jake Cronenworth. Machado has 170 hits with 102 RBIs and 36 home runs for a batting average of .296. Cronenworth has 140 hits with 87 RBIs and 17 home runs for an average of .240.

The Padres were looking rusty early in the season, relying heavily on Machado to do all the work for the team. After the news that Fernando Tatis Jr. tested positive for some performance-enhancing drugs and will be suspended the entire season and part of next season, the Padres looked in danger.

After the trade deadline, however, they acquired Soto from the Washington Nationals. Soto won the home run derby this season and is a superstar in the making. Soto turned down a 15-year/ $440 million contract with the Nationals in the hopes of joining a better team. He helped turn the Padres’ season around after the All-Star Break and the Padres finished with an 89-73 record.

The Mets are led by Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor. Alonso has 162 hits with 131 RBIs and 40 home runs. Alonso’s 131 RBIs are tied for first in the league and he sits at third with his 40 home runs. Lindor has 169 hits with 104 RBIs and 26 home runs. Jeff Mcneil has a .326 batting average for the Mets which is first in the MLB.

The Mets’ longest winning streak was seven in late July as they looked in complete control and were almost a guaranteed lock to earn a first-round playoff bye. This was until the middle of September when the Mets saw their 10.5-game lead over the Braves slip away as they both finished the regular season tied in wins. The Braves hold the tiebreaker over the Mets, so although New York finished with a 101-61 record, they finished second in the NL East and have to play in the Wild Card Series.

The winner of this series will face the No. 1 ranked Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers have a record of 111-51 this season, the highest winning record of any team this season by five. They won 12 games in a row in early August which came after winning eight in a row in the middle of July. They also won seven games in a row three times this season. The Dodgers are the favorites to win the World Series should they live up to the hype and play the way they have been all season.